Czech forward Tomáš Pitule reveals his disappointment at being dropped from Sheffield Steelers' side

Tomáš Pitule didn't beat around the bush.
Tomas Pitule gets stuck in against Manchester last weekend,  picture: Dean WoolleyTomas Pitule gets stuck in against Manchester last weekend,  picture: Dean Woolley
Tomas Pitule gets stuck in against Manchester last weekend, picture: Dean Woolley

He had cursed when his Sheffield Steelers' coach dropped him before last Saturday's 4-1 win at Nottingham Panthers.

Aaron Fox had opted to ice illness victim Kevin Schulze on that night instead, but brought Pitule back for the following evening's win against Manchester Storm.

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It had been the first time the forward had been scratched from the line up in 52 games.

Asked how he'd felt about being dropped, the Czech centre, who had scored twice in his previous three games, said that was a "tough question.

"I wasn't happy, to be honest, I was a little bit annoyed, but we are professional players.

"I put everything there, I tried so hard. It is what it is."

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Coach Fox recognised it had been a difficult decision to scratch Pitule.

He said the player had been "playing very good and is making my decisions very hard for sure."

The disappointment served only to fire the skater up for Sunday's 3-1 victory and hasn't put him off the club, he wants to return next season.

For now, his focus is on the weekend's crunch games with league leaders Belfast Giants (home, Sat) and Guildford Flames (away, Sun.)

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Flames are above Sheffield in the table but on Wednesday became the latest victim of a resurgent Coventry Blaze side, who beat them 3-2 in Surrey.

During Steelers' difficult spell of form, when they lost eight out of 14 matches, Pitule admitted he stopped looking at the EIHL standings.

"We've been struggling, I didn't want to," he said, but last weekend's two wins have persuaded him to reacquaint himself with the table.

The 33-year-old believes they will have to beat all the teams above them twice, especially Belfast who have a five-point advantage over Steelers.

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"They are a really good defensive team, really good on the power play, they have a lot of skilled players, especially their first line" said Pitule.

He described the challenge as a "huge weekend" but said the team was now "on the right track."

Two be victorious this weekend they had to train hard and everyone on the roster had to be "team-first players... one big bunch of guys behind each other."

Pitule said he'd had the illness which had swamped the camp but hadn't suffered as badly as others.

Meanwhile Steelers' goalie Matt Greenfield is again one of the EIHL picks for save of the week after defying a breakaway against Manchester's Tyson Fawcett.