TOM BARRASSO intends to use the dual motivating factors of pride and fear in order to help his misfiring Sheffield Steelers earn themselves a place in the Elite League playoffs.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion cut an exasperated figure in the bowels of Sheffield Arena on Wednesday night after seeing his team hammered 6-1 by Glasgow Clan.
It came just over three weeks after a 6-0 beating in front of their own fans at the hands of the same opponents.
But, regardless of his players’ deficiencies in midweek – and he admitted there were many – Barrasso retains faith in his players being able to respond accordingly by showing the resilience he has seen a number of times previously during a troubled 2018-19 campaign.
When asked how he hoped to motivate his players to avoid suffering similar punishment this weekend against Coventry Blaze and Manchester Storm, Barrasso replied: “Motivation is driven by a few things but, generally, the best motivator is pride. I’m sure if you walk into that locker room right now none of those players will be feeling pretty good about themselves.
“The other motivating factor is fear. There are very few things a hockey coach can do, but one is to take away a player’s ice time and if they don’t want to play how I want them to play, then they won’t get the ice.”
“We don’t have a true, dynamic explosive line that has 60 goals in it like some of the top end teams do. But that doesn’t really bother me as we’ve shown we are capable of beating some of the top teams who do have those types of players.Sheffield Steelers’ head coach, Tom Barrasso
Ahead of Coventry’s visit to Sheffield Arena tonight – the Blaze are two points and two places behind sixth-placed Steelers with four games in hand – Barrasso acknowledged the dogfight his team were in.
“It is a ferocious fight for the playoffs and we’re right in the middle of it,” he added. “There are 20 points on the table and we need to get our fair share of those to ensure we can be in that picture. It is not going to be easy.”
Barrasso said in order for his players to clinch themselves a place in the post-season, they needed to get back to the style of hockey he has made them adjust to since his arrival in October.
“We’re not a team that generates a lot of offence to begin with. We are what we are as a group – we don’t have a true, dynamic explosive line that has 60 goals in it like some of the top end teams do.
“But that doesn’t really bother me as we’ve shown we are capable of beating some of the top teams who do have those types of players. But that requires commitment to playing one kind of hockey and, when we get away from that, we hit trouble like we did against Glasgow.”