STEELERS’ match-winner Tom Sestito may be a little homesick for the NHL.
But that isn’t stopping him having a “blast” in British ice hockey and enjoying his role in the Sheffield team.
Sestito, the Philadelphia Flyers winger who is in this country during the NHL lock-out, has scored two goals and four assists in his last three games.
His most significant contribution was the overtime winner against Nottingham Panthers, at Sheffield Arena, on Sunday night.
Sestito didn’t want to take too much credit for that goal - saying he’d been lucky. “The win was a team effort, everybody contributed” he said.
The winger is without a game this coming weekend, as Sheffield’s GB players are away in Japan, for the Olympic pre-qualification tournament.
The lull gives him the opportunity to rest an injury -believed to be a knock on the knee.
Others are in worse shape - the likes of Rod Sarich, Jeff Legue, Matt Stephenson and Jim Jorgensen are all nursing a variety of ailments.
“The injury? I’d like to keep that in-house” said Sestito. “It’s minor, it’s fine. As for general fitness, I feel pretty good, there are always ways to get better in conditioning back up. We are going to work hard with guys going to GB; there will be a lot of work outs and I take that as a positive thing, good luck to those (GB) guys, then we’ll get back out there.”
Sestito has no inside information of the NHL situation, but says his Sheffield team-mates have made the transition easy for him.
“Its a compliment to the guys in the room - they make you feel at home and they welcome you for how long you are here for. I have no idea what is going on back home with the NHL lock out. I take it a day at a time. They have cancelled the games through November, so I am here for little bit longer at least. I have settled in pretty good. I am having a blast playing here. But I definitely want to go back and play in the NHL; it’s the best league in hockey.”
Asked the assess the gulf in quality between the NHL and the Elite League, he replied: “It’s a different game, the ice is bigger here. Guys in the NHL don’t make many mistakes, and if they do, it’s in the back of your net. You have to play a sound game. Here, I am playing with the puck a lot more here, the bigger ice lets you do that. That is definitely good for my development.
“But I stick to my roots and play hard every game.”