ANDRE DEVEAUX is confident he will quickly get up to speed with his new Sheffield Steelers’ team-mates.
Having arrived in the UK on Friday, October 20, the 33-year-old former NHL forward had to wait over a week before finally getting to play with his new club, going from one extreme to the other when he played three games in as many nights last weekend.
His first point arrived by way of an assist in a 3-2 Challenge Cup win over Braehead Clan, while he only had to wait another 48 hours before adding his first goal in a 6-0 Elite League win over the same opponents, with another assist added for good measure.
The relative frenzy of on-ice action was all a marked contrast for the 6ft 3ins Bahamas-born forward, who had hardly played any hockey during the previous two years.
That followed what proved to be a controversial 2014-15 campaign for the former New York Rangers star after he suffered concussion as the result of being checked into the boards while playing for Swedish second-tier club Rogle in.
In a later match against the same opponents, Deveaux attacked his assailant during the warm-up, prompting his employers to later dispense with his services.
But Deveaux is determined to resurrect his career in the UK top-flight and, after two weeks in his new surroundings, is confident he can contribute to the Steelers’ title bid.
“Of course it is difficult to cope with being out of the game for so long,” said Deveaux. “But when it comes to your health, I had no choice, I had to take time off with an injury. I’m just really thankful for this opportunity and back playing hockey again.
“Any time you play three games like that it is tough – even when you’re in the middle of a season, never mind just starting out.
“It’s all about quickly adapting to the way that those around you play, absolutely, adapting to your linemates is 90 per cent of the game, knowing their tendencies and the way that they play.
“You’ve got to know what they are thinking and the more I play the more consistent and better I will become.”
Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson, who takes his side down to South Wales tonight to face defending regular season champions Cardiff Devils, has been impressed with Deveaux and only expects him to improve.
“His timing is coming back, he’s looking sharp and we are really starting to like what we see,” said Thompson, who will make a late decision on whether Swedish forward Jonas Westerling is fit enough to return from injury.
It’s all about quickly adapting to the way that those around you play, absolutely, adapting to your linemates is 90 per cent of the game, knowing their tendencies and the way that they play.Sheffield Steelers’ Andre Deveaux