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Sheffield Steelers’ goalie claims he knew his replacement’s name before being released

Ervins Mustukovs
Ervins Mustukovs

Within 24 hours of facing 33 shots against Cardiff Devils in the Play Off final, Ervins Mustukovs said he discovered he was being axed - and even knew the name of the replacement Sheffield Steelers’ goaltender.

Gossip travels fast on the ice hockey grapevine and the Latvian says he knew Jackson Whistle was set to step in his shoes, even before he himself was formally released by the club.

Steelers have yet to confirm Whistle’s apparent appointment, one which appears to be common knowledge in England and at his former club Belfast Giants, whom he joined in 2016-17.

Mustukovs, who has now signed for French club Nice, said “Those are not rumours. It is true.

“I knew the day after the season ended about Whistle because players were talking!”

He said Whistle had performed efficiently against Sheffield in Elite League action last season - but questioned the 22-year-old’s personal statistics.

Jackson Whistle playing against Steelers

Jackson Whistle playing against Steelers

“He played good against us -like most of the goalies.

“He has pretty much a butterfly style. His and Belfast’s strength were they always played well against us, as a team.

“His weaknesses? I don’t know really, I heard he had problems with his hips. (The Great Britain goalie needed a six-month rehabilitation period after double-hip surgery in 2016.)

The ex Steeler, nicknamed Moose, added: “I don’t know why Whistle had one of the worst stats in the league.

“If we only scored against him on average 1.3 goals (except one game, when we won 8-0), I don’t know what the hell happened with him, or them, against other teams.

“If his goals against average (GAA) totalled 3.4 - but against us 1.3. - then you can calculate what his average was against other teams. Close to 4.00 GAA” said Mustukovs, whose own GAA was 2.36.

“And Belfast were still ahead of us for 29 weeks.

“I think they allowed (conceded) almost 40 extra goals (than Steelers) so it is very weird...I’ve never seen that before.”

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