Bits & Pieces – Friday Special

The mince pies of all things hockey…..

The Most Important Christmas Since Last Year!

As most are probably aware, Christmas is coming, which normally signals a final nail in Panthers league championship coffin! However, this Saturday sees the start of a crucial run of six games between now and the first weekend of the New Year. Now, I’m not naïve enough to believe that we’re going to storm to the title on the back of a few good results over the festive period, however I do think that a decent showing over the next few games will go a long way to shaping our season for the better, especially as we face the two teams directly above us four times over the next fortnight. The crucial games will be Coventry away on Sunday, Sheffield home & away on the 26th & 27th and Coventry home on 3rdJanuary. We have to win at least three of these four games, and win the games against Cardiff & Newcastle, to have a chance of challenging for the Monteith Bowl. Less than that and I believe it’s game over for yet another season!

Still Waiting….

….for a disciplinary announcement on the shenanigans at the end of the Cardiff v Sheffield game last week. We know that Andrew Sharp has a minimum of four games, but can surely expect a lot longer considering he struck a linesman with his stick, however unintentional. There is also a question mark over whether Steelers netminder Jody Lehman may face supplementary discipline after allegedly throwing a water bottle at Cardiff fans. If found guilty then surely he has to have some form of punishment? (Especially if it means he misses the games on the 26th & 27th!) Don’t forget, two seasons ago Ryan Shymr received a three game man for the heinous crime of throwing his helmet onto the ice. Surely throwing something at the crowd is far worse if proven?

Check out The Breakaway British Hockey Blog for a superb re-working of ‘Hallelujah’ entitled ‘Sharpielujah’.

*Edited to add: It has just been announced on Steelers Hockey on Radio Sheffield that Andrew Sharp has received a 20 match ban broken down as 6 for spearing, 5 for reckless use of the stick, 9 matches for physical abuse of an official. No news on Jody Lehman though, looks like he’s got away with it. Also revealed that an incident between Curtis Cruickshank and Steve Thornton is under review from last night’s Belfast v Hull game.

Weekend Preview

Two more important games for the Panthers, firstly on Saturday the Cardiff Devils are at the fabulous Trent FM NIC Arena Nottingham England and look like they will be three imports down against a full strength Panthers team. Hopefully our old foe complacency won’t raise its head and we’ll skate to a win. It looks as if we’ve learned our lesson and ground out a 3-2 win in Basingstoke, I hope we do the same against the Devils, who will still be a threat with the likes of Voth, Silverthorn and Teplitsky all icing (recovery from a flu bug permitting!)

Sunday sees the Panthers travel to the Skydome in Coventry, a venue where we have failed to win for over two years, so a victory is long overdue. Blaze coach Paul Thompson has already fanned the flames for this one in this BBC Sport article referring to his ‘Team Hollywood’ tag for the Panthers. The same article starts with a rather immature rant by Carlyle Lewis, calling Corey Neilson a ‘loser’! Thankfully Neilson hasn’t responded in the press this time, hopefully he’ll leave his talking to the ice. While Thompson will hopefully be taking more lessons in spin from his best mate Simmsy! It will be close but our slim title chances really need a boost, so hopefully we’ll be celebrating a Panthers win come 8.30pm on Sunday evening.

 

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