Top players ‘must earn their wages,’ says Sheffield Steelers owner

Tony Smith, Sheffield Steelers
Tony Smith, Sheffield Steelers
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Steelers’ owner Tony Smith says Sheffield fans who travelled to Fife to watch their team suffer a late collapse were right to feel cheated...and implied some of the big time players didn’t earn their wages in the later stages of that defeat.

The side recovered from the Flyers’ defeat to batter Braehead Clan 6-0 the following night.

And the club’s chief executive is first to admit that victories can be guaranteed in a highly competitive League.

But he and others were rankled by the way Steelers conceded an equaliser late in regulation time and then lost seconds into overtime. “Last Saturday was frustrating” he said.

“With 1.23 to go, we were closing the game down but had experienced players making schoolboy errors. Three of our top players fell asleep, nine seconds into overtime. We have got to do better than that. The big money players have to earn their money. A lot of fans on Saturday felt let down that a few guys didn’t turn up in the last few minutes.”

Generally, Smith puts inconsistency - his team have won four and lost three of the last seven - down to the quality of the league. “The team which has the best schedule and the least injuries will end up on top of the League.

“All teams are going to be inconsistent” he said, pointing to heavy Cardiff Devils’ defeats to Guildford Flames, Milton Keynes Lightning and Manchester Storm. Manchester are riding high at the top of the League but they were turned over by MKL” added Smith.

“I wouldn’t bet on any team winning a game, let alone the League. There is nothing guaranteed.”

FACTSPOT: Steelers may have lost at Fife Flyers, in overtime, three-on-three, but they have the best special teams in the Elite League. They are ranked first in both power play and penalty kill.

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