Dave Simms’ column: Don’t just blame the goalie

Marek Pinc replaces Brad Day, against Nottingham
Marek Pinc replaces Brad Day, against Nottingham

They say that the goalie is the most important position on your hockey club and the Steelers are finding out right now that ‘they’ ain’t wrong!

Sheffield struggled between the pipes for a while before Tyler Plante was injured.

He was suffering leading up to a Cardiff game where the ankle finally gave way.

Brad Day was a good enough bandage for the remainder of that night.

As much as we love young Yorkshireman Brad everyone realised he wouldn’t be the answer until the Plante return and the experienced and available Marek Pinc was bought in from overseas.

Pinc though hadn’t played for a while so despite being a former Czech international, despite being a Most Valuable Player in Kazakhstan he was always going to need time to catch up with a team that started three months earlier than him.

A win against Dundee Star was followed by a team horror show at Edinburgh Capitals.

Then last Saturday came the craziest game, a 9-8 penalty shoot out win in Braehead.

Pinc conceded all eight with Day taking over, shutting the door on Braehead Clan and winning a shoot out.

Starting Day was always going to be a huge gamble but he had beaten Manchester Storm, stoned Cardiff Devils and shored up the back end against the Clan.

The boy deserved his shot.

Secondly Pinc has the resume to be a great goalie in this league, would another start for him and say a bad start affect him so much this early that we may never get to see what a good goalie he is?

These are the things that a coach has to sum up before making the decision.

Pinc started last night against Cardiff at iceSheffield.

All being he’ll start both games this weekend in Cardiff on Saturday and back at iceSheffield on Sunday against Braehead.

On that night he will go up against Chris Holt, a goalie billed as the best ever to play in the UK, a former KHL MVP, and the guy who shipped in 11 (eight plus three penalty shots) last Saturday against Steelers!

Holt was also dropped on Sunday for a loss in Coventry - so the grass isn’t always greener elsewhere!

Let’s not just blame the goalies though for the upturn in goals-against. Look at everyone - and I hope everyone in the team look at themselves.

It’s not just the six defencemen in front of Pinc that many fans are directing their anger towards.

It’s a team game which means team responsibility.

Forwards have to track back, not lose their man in critical areas. Keep their position, keep their heads.

Do that and they will give their goalie a fighting chance.

I’m sure Colton Fretter will appear at some time and with Tyler Mosienko suspended that means a player must sit in the stands to make way for Fretter’s return.

Candidate one will be Mike Duco I guess.

Chris Lawrence does give you scoring and that’s what will save him.

They never said it would be easy either and “They” weren’t wrong again were they?