Jeff is in a different Legue for Steelers

Dave Simms Telegraph Web Tile
Dave Simms Telegraph Web Tile

I guess we often talk about a ‘huge weekend ahead’ and people do look at you sometimes and think we say it every week.

But I don’t think anyone can doubt that this weekend could possibly turn into a title deciding one, with a string of games that may go a long way in determining the destination of the league title.

Sheffield have two crucial home games at the Arena against Coventry on Saturday and Nottingham on Sunday.

The Panthers currently top the league table, but on Saturday they play Belfast - the third team in the title hunt.

We have to hope that the Giants can take points off Nottingham; and that the Steelers can then do likewise on Sunday.

Sheffield will go into Sunday’s game full of confidence, and rightly so.

In the four league games played between the Steelers and the Panthers, both teams have won twice; but the Steelers have collected two extra points from overtime losses.

Nottingham are yet to beat Sheffield in regulation, but both Belfast and Sheffield have to find ways to take points off Nottingham.

Otherwise, the title will head in their direction - and that can’t be allowed to happen. The good news, going into this most important 24 hour period, is that the big Steeler guns are firing.

Jeff Legue scored on both nights last weekend, as did Tylor Michel.

New signing Scott Champagne has already developed a relationship with Legue - something that coach Ryan Finnerty was desperate for.

Legue is such a key player for him, and it’s no secret that Finnerty had struggled to find the right line combination for his go-to guy.

A lot had been tried; some had shown potential, but none had constantly delivered.

Champagne seems like the perfect fit. Whilst fans were shouting that the Steelers needed a goal scorer, Finnerty thought differently.

He thought that we needed a set up man for Legue, and it seems he was right.

Since Champagne has arrived, the goals have flowed from different areas; including seven against Braehead last Sunday.

The form of Michel is the most encouraging news for Finnerty.

The Steelers coach played on a same line as Michel in their Cardiff days and knows more than anyone what an impact he can have.

Many thought Michel would be all about the intensity and the work rate, and he probably is the hardest working player in the league.

There is, however, more to his game than that; he has top end skills and an ability to score 25-plus this year.

He does what you want every top-end import to do - make the players he is playing with better players.

Phillips and Hewitt are different when Michel is on their line.

Legue and Champagne play with more freedom and expectancy when Michel is out there with them digging in and getting them the puck.

On a weekend like the one ahead; one against two top rivals, one that requires four points, you need your best players to be your best players.

The Steelers go into this weekend knowing their top guns are firing on all cylinders.