David Simms’ Sheffield Steelers ice hockey column: Now is the time for the real men to show up
We are certainly in unchartered territory here with the Steelers this season.
Normally fighting for a championship and this year fighting for an 8th place play-off position.
What’s that old saying? “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
Well let’s hope that’s the case.
Two weeks ago we had a schedule of two games against Dundee followed by two against Milton Keynes, a tough game against Cardiff and a Glasgow and Manchester thrown in there as well.
10 points out of 14 seemed a realistic target.
We ended up with 5, 4 of those those coming with two wins against the bottom place team and an overtime point against Manchester.
Folks, this is a dog fight until the last game of the year just to make the top 8 and we won’t do it unless as a group from top to bottom we show some more desire, fight and hunger.
It’s all very good saying the right things, we can all do that.
But the time for words is over, I don’t want to hear another one.
This is a time for real men to show up, find a reason to deliver and get us out of this mess.
We are all wired differently, so when I say find a reason that could be a selfish one for yourself in wanting to do well, it could be for your team mates or for the club.
Right now I couldn’t care less for your motivation just as long as you have one.
As I walked to the TV camera to interview Tom Barrasso last Saturday I was pleased I saw steam for the first time, emotion and passion.
Or maybe it was anger and annoyance.
This is a game of emotion and it should be played that way, for sure, yes with great discipline but with heart and soul most of all.
A game is made up of hundreds of battles, to win the game you have to win the battles, those one-on-one battles. That only comes with desire.
Our team needs to use the experience they have built up playing this game over the years.
This isn’t a rookie team, these aren’t kids coaching, managing and playing, we are all experienced people.
The battle shouldn’t frighten us, it should disgusts us that we are in it and then it should ignite us with a hatred to get out of it.
Hatred motivates me, others are frightened or put off by that word. People say there is too much hatred, I say, in some instances there isn’t enough.
Hate your opponents this week, they are trying to beat you, trying to take a week, maybe two weeks salary off you (that’s what you lose not making the play-offs).
The Columbus Blue Jackets Head Coach, John Tortorella recently said that there wasn’t enough hatred in the NHL, well John it’s not just in your league.
It’s in ours, it’s the modern soft soap world we live in.
If we don’t hate every player on every team we play for the next 9 weekends then our season will end then and there won’t be a weekend 10 and 11.
We will go to Nottingham for the final four and be mocked.
Our players and staff will sit at home all summer thinking what could have been, what should have been.
There is something we can do to stop all of that happening and that is for this team to play consistently from now on, to win the games that will take us into the post season and allow us to rescue something from this shocker of a season.
I write this before tonight’s game in Guilford but we need that consistency on Saturday at home to Guildford and then on Sunday in Cardiff.
I ask everyone in this club, on and off the ice, in the dressing room, the offices, the stands, the treatment room: Have you got the fight in you?
Good – see you on Saturday.