Scramble In Front: Why Steelers Should Shut Up, & Braehead Responds

It’s tricky sometimes being a hockey blogger.

Wednesday’s blog post stirred up a bit of a debate in Braehead, with Clan fans particularly objecting (albeit in a very polite fashion) to my criticism of Steve Birnstill on the Clan defence.

This is where I respond and point out that, while Birnstill has unquestionably been the main offensive force on the Clan blueline (his 16 points may be half that of top D scorer in the league Mike Schutte but they’re 5th in (current) Clan scoring.

Trouble is, and in response to those Clan fans surprised I’ve called him “disappointing” along with the rest of the Clan defence: a defender’s job is to defend first, attack second. How many goals has Birnstill either caused or indirectly contributed to by finding a need to pinch up ice and then being caught out of position. If he’s been involved in 16 goals and been on the ice for 17, then surely he’s not doing his job to the appropriate standard?

I get to see the Clan on Sunday, so perhaps my opinion will change (and if it does, then I’ll mention so on Monday)…but until then, I’m reserving judgement about whether or not Birnstill can be exempt from the criticism of the rest of the Clan D, as some have said.

Sheffield Weasels. Now THAT has a ring to it…

The Sheffield PR machine is at it again. Barely a week after the owner Tony Smith called his own fans “scumbags” in the matchnight programme, Dave Simms is weighing in on Twitter with a bit more revisionist history, responding to an interview in which Tom Squires said the Steelers went for a full character assassination on him after he left them for Hull by desperately trying to justify himself.

Simms was quoted alleging that Squires had developed a bad attitude with the Steelers, saying that he believed he was a “superstar” because he was being told such by those around him and that he had got “too comfortable”, which is sports-journalist code for “he’s arrogant and lazy”.

Squires has of course denied this, praising the Sheffield Steeldogs organisation but noticeably avoiding doing so with the Steelers.

Now Simmsey has messaged Squires on Twitter saying that apparently this sniping was not character assassination, but “the truth” and that they’re happy where he is now anyway.

Or, to put it another way “we may have savaged you in the press, but it’s OK cause we thought it was the truth, so we can happily use it to affect your career out of spite afterwards”.

Nice defence, sir. Not sure an “opinion” can be held up as the truth, which usually deals with the things you twist, bend and break to your own liking we call “facts”.



One thought on “Scramble In Front: Why Steelers Should Shut Up, & Braehead Responds

  1. Re Birnstill, fair enough Paul but we don’t do +/- stats here so we don’t really have hard evidence as to which players are doing the business for the team and who aren’t. We can only go on gut feeling and you won’t find many Clan fans questioning the fact that Birnstill is a bit more + than -. I don’t know if you’ve seen him play this season but your argument seems to be that as he is getting points up front he must be losing them at the back. Offensive defencemen do have a role in all teams and Birnstill has that role in ours and fills it well. It would be a dull game if all D men never ventured beyond the red line.

    Having said all that he will probably have a ‘mare on Sunday just to confirm your suspicions!

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