NOT that they will need of a pick-me-up at the moment, but Sheffield Steelers have certainly been given a lift by the arrival of Swedish forward Yared Hagos ahead of potentially tricky weekend in Scotland.
The 33-year-old centre was an original target of head coach Paul Thompson in the summer but the deal never came off until, earlier this week, he was brought in to fill the space left by Tyler Mosienko’s sudden departure the week before.
Yagos will make his debut on Saturday night at Edinburgh Capitals, ahead of another test at Dundee Stars the following night.
And although Steelers will go into Murrayfield expected to win, they know from last season how dangerous an opponent they face in the shape of the Capitals, who won 4-2 at Nottingham Panthers last weekend.
“I’m expecting a couple of tough games up there,” said Thompson, whose team have won their last four games. “We haven’t seen either of them yet this year, both of them have a lot of new players and there’s a new coach in Edinburgh so we’ll get the boys prepared with some video on Friday for what is going to be a tough weekend.
“We just want to go up there and keep our run going.”
Edinburgh’s win at the National Ice Centre was probably the biggest shock so far this season, proving that none of the top teams can afford to take anyone else lightly. Last season, they beat Sheffield in the head-to-head series between the two by three games to one.
“Edinburgh picked up a great win in Nottingham last weekend and they are clearly already causing teams problems - they caused us plenty of problems last season,” added Thompson.
“They have some good skilled players and, like I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter whether you are playing the team in first place or the team down the bottom, if you don’t turn up to play, you will get beat by anyone in this league.”
After a long travel day on Wednesday, Hagos skated with his new team-mates for the first time on Wednesday, getting in three practice sessions ahead of the weekend. Thompson is keen to see the impact of the former Swedish international.
“He’s a model professional - he’s in the gym before practice, he goes out with the strength and conditioning coach after practice and he’s one of the hardest workers during practice and that is what I expected from him. We’re really pleased to get him on board.”
Steelers’ captain Jonathan Phillips is expected to return from a lowerbody injury that kept him out of last Sunday’s 6-1 win at Coventry Blaze and the two Gb internationals against Norway in the week.
Steelers will be short on the blue line, however, due to a two-game suspension handed out to Zack Fitzgerald for running into goaltender Brian Stewart in last Saturday’s 9-5 Challenge Cup win over Coventry Blaze.
Get the latest news from The Yorkshire Post on social media
I’m expecting a couple of tough games up there.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Paul Thompson.
Like the Yorkshire Post Sport Facebook page
Follow @YPSport on Twitter
See our snaps at @YPSport on Instagram