Aaron Nell returns to iceSheffield this weekend - and may shoot a wistful glance towards the next door Arena,
The winger started his season off with Steelers but after limited ice time decided to accept a two-way contract allowing him drop down a league to Swindon Wildcats.
This weekend Cats play Sheffield Steeldogs, twice, the iceSheffield date tomorrow.
Talking about his move back to the EPL, Nell said he and his father initially formed the idea which was embraced by Steelers’ coach Doug Christiansen. “It is never nice not to play but I knew I wasn’t playing well enough to deserve ice time. I can’t put a finger on why, until recently we (generally) were just not getting the bounces.”
Nell said the arrival of Phil Hill - whom he describes as “one of the top British players” - further nibbled into his ice time chances. Asked if he’d questioned himself about his Elite League credentials he replied: “You do a bit, here and there, I didn’t produce what I wanted. But I did well enough when I was at Coventry Blaze and I feel I can be a good player - and so does Doug.
“Going back to Swindon is the right decision, for now. I could have just sat on the bench at Sheffield and taken my money. But I want to play and I hope I can turn this into a positive and come back stronger next season.”
Steelers aim to deepen the misery of visiting Coventry Blaze team tonight. The Midlanders have won only two of their last 11 games and trail eight points behind their third-placed hosts.
While Blaze have lost their last four outings, one went into overtime, the other penalty shoot outs - suggesting a win is not that far away. But Steelers fans will be hoping to see some goals from an improving team not always known for an offensive mindset.
Nate DiCassmiro, such a skilled player, has scored only four goals in 29 games. Jeff Legue has one in nine, Steve Goertzen two in 14 and Rob Dowd three in 12.
Playing against a team with the worst penalty minutes per game (24.8 on average) there could be plenty of Power Play opportunities, for Sheffield.
* There have been 96 fighting majors assessed in the EIHL so far this season; Nottingham having most with 16.