So Jerry Andersson, Steelers’ assistant coach, is getting a little stick on social media for saying the Steelers win the league this coming season – well what the hell did you expect him to say: “I think we are OK and maybe we will finish second or third?”
If Jerry had said anything different to Bob Westerdale in his Star interview I would have been calling Jerry and head coach Paul Thompson up and asking: “What have you been doing all summer?”
We are the Sheffield Steelers. The number one club. We build to win, we expect to win. Don’t get me wrong we have no divine right, we take nothing for granted and we respect everyone of our 11 opponents. Some of our rivals have built outstanding squads with incredible players. They expect to win as well, they have built to win championships also.
Ask Andrew Lord and he expects to win, he will love his Cardiff side right now. Corey Neilson always loves his Nottingham Panthers team, until they lose a few games and then he hates his side. Right now though in July he will be building to win. Adam Keefe the same with his new look Belfast Giants outfit.
It’s not only the front runners. Pete Russell in Milton Keynes is getting all excited and thinks his Lightning side will win their conference, the same conference as I predicted Coventry winning last week. Ryan Finnerty is building to win that conference as well. It’s July folks, we all love our sides in July!
As said last week, it’s not just the big four that can take the League title, that’s what makes this Elite League so exciting. From week one if a team gets a good start then anyone from six or seven can take a run at it.
That’s why we are looking forward to game one just over two weeks away.
Cardiff are almost done and dusted, Steelers fully signed. Belfast and Nottingham have signings to announce. Panthers have money for some big names. Owner Neil Black won’t be happy his club got left behind in domestic competition last year. He won’t be demanding better.
Shortly after last week’s edition column, I received calls came from Coventry: “Why are you trying to put pressure on us?” From Milton Keynes: “We think we will win the conference” and from Ryan Finnerty at Manchester Storm: “Are you trying to do to Coventry what you tried to do to me for four years in Braehead?” Every year Ryan had to put up with the whole ‘Braehead should win the league’ thing because of their conference in Scotland. (He should have as well.) I think he quiet liked that the Blaze were getting some of his old medicine.
I tipped Coventry for that conference last week and said that by winning comfortably they should force their way up the league table and challenge. I can’t believe how one article can ruffle so many feathers. You shouldn’t be feeling the pressure in July, if you are you have either signed the wrong team or aren’t made of the right stuff for the nine months ahead.
I think Danny Stewart has signed the right team and is made of the right stuff, that’s why I’m tipping him to win their conference.
Mike Ratchuk, will he come back to the EIHL. I hope the answer is YES because he is a top lad. Manchester? Could they, should they? Is he a risk? Maybe, is he worth it, hell yes.
For the cash you are going to be spending on Mike you won’t find a player that gives you that contributes as he does. I’d rather take Ratter than some of prim and proper guys that have floated around the league for years.
Give the guy a shot Ryan...You know you want to.