Sheffield Steelers forward backs ‘Moose’ to lead them to Euro victory

Andre Deveaux says the recent, outstanding form of goalie Ervins Mustukovs could lead them to triumph in the Continental Cup round which starts tomorrow, in Denmark.

The forward has played 31 games in the NHL with Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers - and favourably compares Mustukovs with netminders he has played in front of in the best league in the world.

He says “Moose” will be key to their success or otherwise.

“Moose...any game he is ‘on’ we have a chance to win” said the 33-year-old veteran.

“He is one of the better goalies I have played with. If he is on his game, we will always have a chance.”

Deveaux has iced the last two games as centreman - and helped his team win on both occasions.

Andre Deveaux giving out some stick

Andre Deveaux giving out some stick

It is around a decade since he played that position, he revealed.

“Last time I played centre, off and on, (was) in Chicago, my last year (2007-8)” he said, adding that he had been initially groomed for that position, but tended to play most of his games out wide.

“At the start of my career, an NHL prospect, they were breeding me to be a face off guy and a penalty killer.

“I have always been pretty decent on face offs.

Ervins Mustukovs at the Arena

Ervins Mustukovs at the Arena

“Then I moved up and started playing on the first line in teams.”

That normally meant being moved to wing, he said.

Deveaux is only six games into his Steelers’ career, after being out of the game a long time, and his coach Paul Thompson thinks he still has some way to go to get fully match-fit.

The player suggested he’d played conservatively at first for Sheffield, to avoid being caught out of position during his settling in period.

But after that he had started to make plays and was beginning to approach the stage where he felt he could create more, offensively.

“I think I am on the cusp of that. I am not quite there yet but I am going in the right direction.

“It has been an easy transition.”

Deveaux, who has scored six points in his last four games, is not overly concerned at the lack of intelligence available on tomorrow’s opponents Minsk.

He said it just meant they would concentrate more on their own game.

“I hope it’s a winnable tournament if we are on our game will be” whose wife and two year old son are at home in Toronto.

* Coach Thompson agrees that goaltender Mustukovs will be key in the Danish series.

“He copes with pressure really well, he is pretty hard-nosed” the team boss said.

“He knows what it takes to win, he knows how to get it done at this level.”

Thompson said ‘Moose’s’ form had been excellent for the past five weeks or so.

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