Has Tom Barrasso patched up a “beaten up” Sheffield Steelers team enough for them to beat Cardiff Devils and reach the play off finals?
Tom Barrasso is consumed with plotting an extraordinary end to the season before he completes his reign at Sheffield Steelers.
Nothing would give the coach with the impeccable NHL playing background more pride right now than to see his side beat Cardiff Devils this weekend (home, Sat, away Sun) and move into the play off semi finals in Nottingham.
Qualification wouldn’t do his CV any harm, either.
Just to reach the final four would be a significant achievement for a "beat up" team that qualified via seventh place and has hardly established itself as a credible contender for silverware.
Barrasso does not want his coaching stint at Steelers ending on Sunday.
And, he revealed to The Star, he's so fixated on his current responsibilities that he has not been looking for his next job, even while Sheffield have been courting his replacement.
"My focus remains the Sheffield Steelers," said the man who has coached in the industrial city in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, Bratislava, Slovakia and at two Italian clubs, Valpellice and Asiago.
"I know there are positions open in various leagues.
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“However, I have had no contact with my agents in weeks.
"Once our season ends, I will speak with them regarding my future."
Sheffield won and lost in equal 50-50 measure in a forgettable regular season league tournament. And their Challenge Cup endeavours were cut short at quarter-final stage by Guuildford Flames, in December.
But Barrasso, who says he won't coach in north America despite five seasons at Carolina Hurricanes, is happy he accepted the Steelers' role which became vacant at the end of September, with the exit of Paul Thompson. At that low point, Steelers with joint bottom of the Elite League.
"Each season is it’s own entity" says the 54-year-old American..
"This year has been a great challenge. Working to build up the confidence and self-belief of a beat-up group of players has been rewarding.
"The relationships you build with the players, owners and staff are what make the experience.
“I am glad I came to Sheffield."