SHEFFIELD STEELERS’ head coach Aaron Fox admits his team will miss suspended forward Michael Davies this weekend, but insists it is an opportunity for others to step up and take on more responsibility.
The 32-year-old misses his team’s Elite League opening double-header against Coventry Blaze after an incident at the end of last week’s 5-1 Challenge Cup defeat at Nottingham Panthers.
The EIHL’s Department of Player Safety banned the former Chicago Wolves centre for two games after he was seen to toss a plastic goal peg into the Nottingham Arena crowd.
Nobody was hurt in the incident and Davies has since issued a lengthy apology.
I’m really pleased with what we’ve seen of Michael so far, absolutely.Aaron Fox
The American has impressed since his arrival in the UK from EBEL outfit Linz, but Fox is confident he has enough quality elsewhere on his roster to cope.
“I’m really pleased with what we’ve seen of Michael so far, absolutely,” said Fox.
“He’s a very good player – brings a lot of intensity, is really good around the net and really good on the powerplay.
“He will be missed this weekend, for sure, but it gives a couple of other guys an opportunity to step up into some bigger roles too.”
With defenceman Aaron Brocklehurst expected to return from injury, Davies is Fox’s only absentee to face the Blaze who completed their warn-up for the 2019-20 campaign with two games against Guildford Flames last weekend and midweek encounter with Manchester Storm.
Fox has watched video of Blaze’s double-header against the Flames and is expecting a tough opening night in the regular season schedule.
“We know how important the regular season is in this league and we’re trying to get that into the boys’ minds as clear as possible because we can’t afford to take any nights off – at any stage,” added Fox.
“Coventry look good. We’ve watched both of their games against Guildford and have cut the film on them and went through their tendencies. They play hard, fast and will be a good test for us.
“We’ve got to be ready to work and battle. Against any team in this league, if you’re not prepared to win that side of the game then you’re going to have a very tough night.”