Simmsey'sÂ Sheffield Steelers column:Â Eric Neiley and Davey Phillips injured, it never rains but it pours
This year was certainly sent to try us.
Eight wins in the last 10 games including a great victory over top of the table Belfast Giants, things were looking good. The Steelers played all 14 imports for two games back to last weekend, the first time in an age.Â
Steelers looked good the week's leading to this playing three lines but playing four they were at times unplayable.
So just when you things are going great '“ Bang!
Davey Phillips takes a hit and breaks his hand. The next day in training Eric Neiley goes down, they both will miss Wednesday night's game in Glasgow. The extent of the Neiley injury isn't known, the club will monitor it day by day. Â
Phillips however has to be seen as a long-term knock for the club. The reality is that Davey is irreplaceable as a British defenseman.Â Do we as a club try and find a young Brit and if so who? Do we go for an import replacement, carry a spare and then decide who to drop game by game in order that we can play six 'D'. The issue isn't playing five D, the issue is if one of those five go down and you are left with four. The one certainty is that as always the club will back the coach in what he wishes to do. Meanwhile, Kell Brook has for once done the Steelers a favour.Â
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Time after time he decides to fight in the middle of the hockey season taking important Saturday night's from us. Well this time 'Good on you Kell!' Steelers played Wednesday in Glasgow, we were due to play Cardiff at home on Saturday and then travel to Dundee on Sunday.Â
Three games in five nights understrength wouldn't have been good. Brook stealing that Saturday off us has actually helped. Now we play Wednesday Sunday Wednesday Saturday Wednesday '“ no back to back games for a couple of weeks whilst we once again examine if alterations are needed to the squad. Robert Dowd is one point of 500 for the Steelers in all Elite League competitions.Â
When he reaches that milestone he will become just the 8thÂ player to reach 500 in the leagues history, what an achievement. People look at the Steelers recent turn around in form and put much of it down to the return of Ben O'Connor and whilst I wouldn't disagree I would also suggest that a fit Dowd should be placed right alongside the O'Connor return. Dowdy played a couple of games in pre season and was injured. He returned and played a couple more and then was injured again. The lad has had three pre seasons and only in the last three weeks has been the player we all know and love.Â Right now our two best British players are our two best players, how good is that. On behalf of the club thank you for all of the kind words about our ceremony last week with young Aiden as he rang the bell after beating cancer. Mike O'Connor's idea about the bell and what a great one. There wasn't a dry eye in the house has the 8 year old boy who had fought cancer for 3 years rang that bell with all he had. Let's hope we don't see many of young fans having to do that for a long time, but they know that if they are struck down by that horrible illness the Steelers will be there for them and that bell awaits them with you all cheering them on. No home game for the Steelers this week, next Wednesday the Cup Quarter final against Guildford, all tickets just Â£5 '“ then on Saturday 15thÂ the Teddy Bear Toss against Coventry. There is always something going on with the Steelers!