AS AN NHL enforcer, whenever Tom Sestito is near the ice, there is a high percentage chance that blood will be spilled.
But Sheffield Steelers, who have recruited the 6ft 5ins power winger during the NHL lock-out, couldn’t have forseen it happening in only his second training session with the club, yesterday.
New team-mate Ashley Tait suffered a wack in the mouth when the puck flicked off goalie Geoff Woolhouse’s stick at iceSheffield yesterday, splitting his lip wide open and robbing him of a couple of teeth.
“It’s not my fault, I wasn’t even in the play,” smiled Sestito, with all the candour of a man used to being blamed when injuries happen around him.
The Tait wound occurred at a bad time - Danny Wood broke a finger in training while Mark Thomas is ruled out of today’s match at Fife Flyers.
Sestito, meanwhile, is concentrating on bringing his ‘nothing-fancy’ style of play to the Elite League.
“I have got one style of game that I play; I just play my role and bang bodies around,” the 25-year-old said.
“I go to the net hard and set up other guys on my line.”
The American recognises there may be other players waiting to fight him.
“We’ll see if it brings anything, but my first mentality is to play and then if anything else comes then it comes,” he added.
Asked if he will become Steelers’ ‘policeman’, he replied: “We are all teammates, we all stick up for each other. If somebody takes a run at somebody, then I am going to be there. I am going to work by **** off while I am here, play hard stay in shape and do the best that I can do.”
Sestito shares an Italian heritage with new teammate Drew Fata, whom he has fought twice.
“Yeah, we have danced a couple of times; he is a dirty player but a good guy to have on your team,” laughed the on-loan Philadelphia Flyer.
Sestito will just be glad to get back to competitive action. He was injured at the back end of last season and it is six months since he played.
“I tore my groin muscle off the bone and had three fractures in the bone,” he said.
“But I feel great; I feel 100 per cent although I haven’t played in a game yet so we’ll see how it goes.”
Fata said he was happy to have his old adversary on board.
“We have only seen him for two days,” he said. “On Thursday, he travelled a lot, has had one day recovery, but he is a big body, big power foward and for a big boy he has pretty good hands.”
Fata said that his arrival was well-timed given the release of Cory Pecker and the injury backlog.
“He has got more to his game than just an enforcer, that’s why he is in the NHL” he said. “He has good hands and a really heavy shot.”