Dave Simms' Sheffield Steelers column: I've never known an injury crisis like this!
It’s all go at Steelers HQ. In fact, the only busier place right now is the accident and emergency department at the Northern General Hospital!
Have you ever known an injury crisis like this one? Tony Smith’s bank manager hasn’t!
Aaron Johnson has already been out for eight weeks, then in his first week back is out again for another eight to ten weeks.
Jonas Lewing is out 12-16 weeks, James Bettauer eight to 10 weeks - add to that Dowdy and Vallerand out last week and this is a real injury crisis.
In comes, as a short-term replacement, Mikko Kuukka.
His contract was up two weeks ago but we persuaded him to stay for another two weeks.
That contract expires on Monday.
We want him to stay all season long but he has a wife and family in Finland who are working and can’t join him.
We are doing all we can to have him stay for the season, I can assure you.
On Wednesday morning Aaron Fox prised open the owners' purse strings once more and signed Janne Kolehmainen - a big strong Finnish power-forward.
This surely means that Eric Meland will drop back on to the defence.
Kolehmainen will arrive in Sheffield on Thursday and then head to Belfast with the Steelers on Friday for the weekend double-header against the Giants.
Sheffield go into that series on the back on a win against Belfast just a week ago and after another successful night in Nottingham last Sunday.
Short handed, the Steelers found a way to win.
Now with reinforcements, they have to do it again on the road.
Both Dowd and Vallerand will make the trip, but will they play? Who knows. We are hoping and doing everything possible to patch these boys up.
Steelers owner Tony Smith must dread seeing Aaron Fox’s name flash up on his phone: Sandstrom, Troncinsky, Kuukka and now Kolehmainen have already been added to the Steelers' roster since the start of the year.
Only Pavel Kantor has left the club.
These are expensive times, so don’t moan next week when buying your 50-50 tickets …..
Smith has certainly backed his coach this season and Fox has had nothing but bad luck.
I’ve never know four long-term injuries come together. It is frustrating, painful and so expensive.
Next Wednesday is another one of the Steelers' £5 all ticket games – a quarter-final of the Challenge Cup against local rivals Manchester Storm.
All tickets are just £5 - yes a fiver, five quid for this game at the FlyDSA Arena against Manchester Storm. Face-off is 7.30pm.
You don’t get better value for money than that!