Video: Sheffield Steelers owner any further lapses from the players won’t be tolerated by the new coach

New coach Tom Barrass won't accept any slipping of standards from his new Sheffield Steelers team which finds itself at the wrong end of the Elite League table.

It will be a case of "my way or the highway" believes owner Tony Smith, the man who brought the NHL legend to South Yorkshire.

Coach Barrasso, David Smith and Tony Smith

Coach Barrasso, David Smith and Tony Smith

"Tom seems to be very direct, the sort of guy who knows what he wants, he won't take no for an answer, he doesn't take second best from anyone," Smith told The Star.

"It's 'give me 100% or we'll be having that conversation' and maybe some of the players had slipped a little bit in terms of battle drills and awareness on the ice and I think a fresh start from Tom might bring that back for them."

Barrasso will be behind the bench for Steelers at Nottingham Panthers on Saturday night, having taken over from Paul Thompson.

Smith said management had been working hard behind the scenes to address the club's lowly position in the league and "correct that situation."

The key part of that was to bring in Barrasso, who is contracted for the rest of the season but, says the owner: "If it works out for both of us I'd absolutely love Tom to be here in two or three years."

Smith said it was imperative to put a good brand of hockey on the ice: "that's what puts bums on seats which is what we are all about."

That hasn't happened in the early part of the season.

"We all want to see great hockey at Sheffield and we are used to  great hockey at Sheffield and when fans boo - and they have every right to boo - I don't discourage that.

"If the team is playing well cheer them, I ask for that, but if they are not playing well, then they need to understand fans pay hard-earned money to come and watch this team and it is their right and their privilege to let them know what they think after a game."

Smith said it was irrelevant that Barrasso was a super-wealthy man after his glittering NHL career: "We employ Tom on the basis that he is the right man for the job, the right guy for the Steelers. We don't care how much money he has got in the bank.

"He retired for five years, he didn't like golfing and gardening so he wanted to get back into a proper job and we are very lucky right now to have Tom Barrasso in this Arena with us."