ASHLEY Tait says Sheffield Steelers need to “draw a line” under last season’s poor record against Elite League arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers.
The two sides meet for the first time this season at the National Ice Centre on Saturday (7pm).
For both sets of fans it is the most eagerly-anticipated fixture of the season, given added spice this year by the switch made by former Panthers’ captain Danny Meyers to the Steelers after he had been surprisingly released by the East Midlands club in the spring.
Last season, the Panthers dominated the Steelers, winning six out of the eight meetings between the two sides.
But Tait – himself a Nottingham player for all but a couple of season between 1990-2002 – said last season’s losing record against his former club was a rarity and had to be quickly forgotten.
“You kind of want to draw a line under our games against Nottingham last season,” said Tait. “But things like that do stick in the mind, for the supporters as well.
“But since I’ve been at Sheffield it’s the first time I can remember them having the upper-hand over us like that so it’s swings and roundabouts really.
“It’s always a step quicker – games against Nottingham – more physical and it’s the game that nobody on either side wants to lose.
“The building is always full down there – these are the kind of games you play the sport for.
“Corey (Neilson, Panthers coach) knows what he’s doing down there, he always recruits well and they always put together exciting, offensively-minded teams.
“Looking at the names there this year, it will be no different (this time around).”
Tait, who is within one point of equalling the Elite League all-time scoring record, said he expected defenceman Meyers – for so long a solid piece of the Panthers’ roster – to deal with what will undoubtedly be a huge occasion for him in his hometown.
“It’s always a big night when you play against a team you used to play for,” added 37-year-old Tait. “Danny was captain and a big part of their team and for whatever reason the change was made and he has made the move to us.
“But it’s definitely a good pick-up for us. He’s fitted in really well and, understandably, he’s going to be excited.
“Sometimes these sort of occasions can get the better of you in that you are so excited all day, that by the time you get to the rink you’re kind of burned out and have no energy left – but he’s a pretty level-headed guy.”