My Christmas Day is Boxing Day and the Steelers delivered me and 9,300 others a stunning performance and result against the Nottingham Panthers, a 4-0 shut out.
It doesn’t get any better than that from Santa and it comes some ten days after the team, the coach, the club was berated by certain quarters of the fan base as being the worst ever.
It’s a crazy world, isn’t it?
Of course, Wednesday night could see all things could change again as we play the Panthers in their own barn [after this newspaper went to press]. Win, lose or draw in that likely barnstormer, what we have seen from the Steelers is definitely an improvement.
Credit coaches and players who have worked around the clock just trying to get better and instil confidence. We have seen the small steps needed if we are to improve, climb the table and win trophies.
Tim Wallace is a heck of a hockey player. He might be snake bitten in front of net but please credit him for all he does right. His work ethic, his penalty killing and his general play has been fantastic recently.
After Boxing Day’s game both the coach, the captain and several other senior players said to me: “How good was Wally tonight?” I hope he scored last evening in Nottingham. His play deserves a goal.
Paul Thompson singled two players out to me following the Boxing Day game. Wallace was one, and Andreas Jamtin was the other. Thompson said to me: “You can see why he played KHL, SHL and was a member of a World Champion Swedish team,” and you could. Jamtin raised the game to another level on Boxing Day,
So Steelers fans had a happy Christmas, but as we touched on above, we are a fickle, fickle lot and for us all to remain happy consistency has to remain with the club.
Of course, consistency is the hardest thing in sport. Just ask the Panthers, seven straight defeats for them. I also thought winning trophies every year showed consistency. Obviously not.
Last night in Nottingham is followed by two War of the Roses battles against Manchester Storm (home at the Arena on Saturday, 7pm).
Ryan Finnerty has put some fight and identity into Manchester, especially at home, in their small tight rink. Their team of big bodies shows immediately the style of play they need if they are to be successful. We will have to tighten the chin straps on New Years Day up there.
So Steeler fans after a Happy Christmas comes New Year and all of us at the club wish you and the team a Happy one.
My New Year wish is for a little reflection and calmness. What was that old Dave Matsos saying? “Never get too high on the highs and too low on the lows.”
We have become a reactionary group and that is something very non-Sheffield like. That’s what others down the road have been like for decades. I always thought we were better than that.
Behind closed doors I assure you that everyone at our club is accountable, issues are dealt with, problems seen and addressed. To work for the Steelers in any area you have to give 100 per cent 24 hours a day, seven days a week and everyone on and off the ice does. You have seen how hard folk have grafted to right some bad results.
So in 2018 let’s all point the guns outwards not inwards. Paul Thompson said on Boxing Day that the energy off the bench energised the fans and the energy from the fans energised the bench. When the two work hand in hand like that you get success. Let’s remember that.
Happy New Year folks!