Oskar Östlund's lengthy absence explained as Sheffield Steelers stars left off 'top players' list

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Oskar Östlund's 12-week absence from the Sheffield Steelers' roster was explained today.

The Swedish goaltender, who was hurt before a friendly game against Coventry Blaze on September 3, has re-injured the same problem area during practice.

It put paid to coach Aaron Fox's expectations that by now he would have been able to challenge Matt Greenfield for the starting netminder role.

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The goalie's injury issue had lasted longer than envisaged, he said.

"He had a re-injury of it, we had hoped for him to be back three weeks ago. It will probably be another three weeks for him" added the coach.

Fox said it had happened in training on ice. However, he said he was not concerned that Ostlund would have any problem integrating with the team once he was fit enough.

"We are not expecting any further setbacks" said Fox.

The re-injury was rotten luck for the former DEL custodian, who also played four seasons for Storhamar of Norway. His frustration must be enormous, he's not played at Sheffield Arena yet and iced just 51 times since the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

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Östlund's continuing absence put the emphasis again on Greenfield, who has been a fixture between the posts throughout this season. It hasn't done Greenfield any harm; he heads the EIHl leaderboard with a 93.30 per save centage.

The 27-year-old American is a prime reason why Sheffield has the league's best defensive record, having conceded only 30 goals in 17 league outings.

Meanwhile, there is injury news of a more promising nature coming out of Sheffield Arena.

Sheffield Steelers stoppers Matt Greenfield and Oskar OstlundSheffield Steelers stoppers Matt Greenfield and Oskar Ostlund
Sheffield Steelers stoppers Matt Greenfield and Oskar Ostlund

Scott Allen, who has missed the last two games, and long-term injured utility man Evan Mosey could be available for selection for the Scottish weekend of December 10 and 11, when Sheffield travel to Glasgow Clan and Fife Flyers.

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More pressingly, Steelers host Cardiff Devils on Saturday. The Welsh will arrive on the back of Swinton-born Ben Bowns 28-shot shutout in their 3-0 success at Fife Flyers on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the britishicehockey.co.uk website has declared Nottingham Panthers to be the "top club" in the UK, based on historical trophy wins.

In a "Beginner’s Guide To The Elite Ice Hockey League," they listed Nottingham: 15 trophies, Sheffield: 11, Belfast Giants: 10, Coventry Blaze: 8, Cardiff Devils: 8.

The website also outlined 10 top players to "look out for in the EIHL" - omitting any Steelers.

Their picks were: Daniel Tedesco, David Goodwin, Scott Conway, Nathanael Halbert, Brett Ferguson, Trevor Cox, Cole Sanford, Sam Marklund, Jesper Ohrvall and Elijiah Barriga.