SIMMS ON STEELERS: Sheffield Steelers turn back time to go forward

The Sheffield Steelers have signed former Nottingham Panthers Captain Danny Meyers on a two-year contract.'''Meyers has just returned from representing GB at the World Championships in Slovenia where he was voted GB's best defence-man. Prior to that Meyers captained the Nottingham Panthers to back to back challenge cup and play off doubles culminating with the Panthers play off success in March when beating the Cardiff Devils.
The Sheffield Steelers have signed former Nottingham Panthers Captain Danny Meyers on a two-year contract.'''Meyers has just returned from representing GB at the World Championships in Slovenia where he was voted GB's best defence-man. Prior to that Meyers captained the Nottingham Panthers to back to back challenge cup and play off doubles culminating with the Panthers play off success in March when beating the Cardiff Devils.
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Normally going back in time is a bad thing, but maybe not in the case of the Sheffield Steelers as they approach the start of another new season next weekend.

The team that head coach Ryan Finnerty has assembled brings back memories of some of the very best squads brought together by coaches such as Mike Blaisdell and David Matsos,

There is an argument that on paper the boys of 2012-13 are the best team the Arena will have seen since the heady heights of the 2001 Grand Slam side.

I see that former skipper Rob Wilson believes that - and he is a man who should know. He was dropped by Blaisdell just weeks before the start of that season.

There are similarities - depth being the main one. Never have the Steelers started a year so well prepared and so deep, not only in terms of numbers of players available but the quality of those players.

Finnerty has the best goalie combination in the Elite League: John DeCaro and Geoff Woolhouse can’t be touched in this area.

But it’s on the blue line that many observers think that Finnerty’s side will deliver.

Finnerty seems to have the balance right at the back end as well.

Sarich, Jorgensen and Meyers will add offence from the back whilst Stephenson, Thomas and the towering Fata will solidify the defence and make it a very uncomfortable place to play just in front of John DeCaro.

Finnerty has so many options up front. In fact, if Finnerty has an issue with this team, it might be that he has too many options. If you want skill and offence then Legue, Shields and Pecker can deliver; if you need to go to war then step forward Limpright, Michel and Hewitt.

We haven’t even yet mentioned the biggest signing of them all yet, ex NHLer Steven Goertzen, or the best pack of British players assembled including a returning Ashley Tait and two further GB studs, Phillips and Hewitt.

As a 15 year old, the name Danny Wood was talked about with great anticipation, but seven years ago he got on a plane and headed Stateside to further his education and his hockey.

Now just 23, he returns home to his rightful place and, alongside the hard working Lee Esders, gives the Steelers two more quality players and the depth that many believe will bring silverware back to the Motorpoint Arena.

Finnerty has been given the tools and throughout the summer he shopped carefully.

This is the most gifted and entertaining side put together by a Steelers coach since 2001.

This 2012-13 side can grind it out as well. If Coventry want to rough it up there isn’t a single player in a Steelers uniform who plays scared - who can’t and won’t defend himself and his team.

Looking forward to it? You should be Sheffield - the Steelers are about to make you feel very proud.

Remember they open next Saturday, September 1 against Coventry Blaze.