Silver lining still the aim for Steelers' Munn

DEFENCEMAN Steve Munn returns to the ice this weekend determined to continue with the aim of marking his retirement season by lifting another piece of silverware with the Sheffield Steelers.

The 32-year-old Canadian - who clinched two play-off trophies and a league championship during his first stint with the Steelers between 2007-09 - is set to bring down the curtain on his 13-year hockey career to concentrate on new business interests.

He is back in the Steelers' line-up for tonight's visit of bottom club Edinburgh Capitals after spending just over a month on the sidelines due to a concussion he suffered in a 3-2 defeat at Elite League title rivals the Cardiff Devils.

After a scan earlier this week, Munn was given the all-clear to return to action and, although the Steelers were humbled 7-1 by leaders Cardiff at Sheffield Arena on Wednesday night, the former AHL blue-liner believes the South Yorkshire club have what it takes to repeat their regular season title triumph of two years ago.

"I do plan on retiring at the end of this season as I've got an MBA burning a hole in my pocket and I'm going to be looking at launching a new business back home in North America," said Munn.

"It would be great to end the season with another trophy and, despite what happened on Wednesday, we've got the talent and the character in that locker room to win another league title.

"It's still very much in our own hands and there's a lot of hockey to come yet. There's no such thing as an unbeatable team in hockey and Cardiff can be stopped."

Munn admitted the past month - his longest stint out of the game with a concussion - had been a worrying time, but he was glad to be finally able to get back to doing what he loves best.

"It wasn't until last Tuesday that I actually started feeling like myself," said Munn. "It has been a worrying time, I've had a couple of concussions before but never one this bad.But now I'm just excited about getting back out there."

"We can bounce back but we can't afford to feel sorry for ourselves because of what happened on Wednesday - we need to move on quickly."

Steelers complete their weekend on Sunday with a trip to reigning league champions Coventry Blaze, already out of the title race after having suffered a raft of injury problems for what seems the majority of the season.

Influential forward Jeff Legue will miss both games after the initial match penalty handed out to him against Cardiff on Wednesday was upgraded to a two-game suspension by league disciplinary bosses.

Legue - second in the points scoring table for the Steelers - reacted angrily during he heavy defeat after being handed a two-minute hooking call. After throwing his helmet onto the ice, he was then ejected after being seen making an obscene gesture to an official.

Nottingham Panthers drew level on points with third-placed Steelers on Friday night after enjoying a 3-2 victory on a shoot-out at second-placed Belfast Giants.

The Giants are now four points ahead of Sheffield, who have four games in hand on Doug Christiansen's team as well as three games in hand on the Panthers.

Edinburgh will stay in Yorkshire when they travel east to take on the Hull Stingrays on Sunday.

With only three imports remaining on their roster after a mass exodus of players in recent weeks, initial fears that the Capitals would not see the season out seem to have been allayed.

But Stingrays' forward Lee Esders says the Scottish club - who arrive on the back of a nine-game losing streak - should not be taken lightly because of their recent problems.

"Clouts (player-coach Sylvain Cloutier) has been drilling it into us that we can't just turn up and think it is going to be easy," said Esders. "We have talked about it and we know our attitude must be right."