WITH the six Sheffield GB players away in Japan last weekend the Steelers had a week off. A time for bodies and mind to rest.
Ryan Finnerty will certainly hope that there are no cob webs when the Steelers take to the ice in Nottingham on Friday and more importantly at home to the Fife Flyers at ICE Sheffield on Sunday.
It’s certainly back to work for the Steelers, whilst most had last week off this week has been like an army boot camp, even for the six returnees who were put through their paces 10 hours after returning from the 16 hour long trip from Japan
Rod Sarich will have been grateful of the break, allowing 10 days rest for his injured groin to repair.
Other Steelers too, including Tom Sestito and Jeff Legue will have benefited from the week away from the rink easing the aches and pains.
Steelers game on Sunday is crucial if Finnerty’s side are to keep pace with belfast and Nottingham at the top of the league. Sheffield have already dropped 2 points away to Fife in mid October, the team that wins the league won’t drop 4 to them I assure you.
Danny Wood returns to the line up after missing nine games with a broken finger. Wood was just finding form when the injury came at just the wrong time. He will be keen to impress and may get more of a chance, and certainly more ice on Sunday than he will in Nottingham 48 hours earlier.
I expect John DeCaro to also be in between the pipes on Sunday for the Fife game, Finnerty has already come out and confirmed that back up net minder Geoff Woolhouse will start on Friday in Nottingham.
Finnerty has played his hand well to date, he has used his bench smartly but his biggest test may be ahead of him. With everyone undecided about how long the NHL will lock out Finnerty has to make sure he isn’t caught with his pants down should Sestito have to return to North America at short notice.
If big Tom was to leave it would mean that 80 odd other NHL’er would also leave jobs in Europe. The fight to try and sign replacements would be crazy. Big spending teams in Russia, Germany and Switzerland would outbid any hopes the Steelers would have of a quality replacement.
Finnerty knows that the well isn’t exactly flooding with players right now and that this situation will only get worse if the NHL went back to work tomorrow.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Finnerty is ahead of the game and trying to fill that position before it’s needed. There may just be another place needed around the dinner table come Christmas. Finnerty has had the back of ownership since day 1 and he will have been in the ear of management ensuring that the club doesn’t get caught without a chair when the music stops. Keep your eye on that situation and if something happens remember where you heard it first.
Back to business and back to winning ways in the league on Sunday, see you at iceSheffield for the 6pm start against the Fife Flyers.