Sheffield goalie returns to Denmark with regrets

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John Muse has revealed how distressed he was that injury prevented him from backstopping Sheffield Steelers for the majority of the EIHL mini-season.

The American had hoped he could influence the new side's fortunes and provide a base for winning the tournament.

Instead, he pulled up with a groin injury after 34 minutes of his debut in the League part of the 2021 programme, tried to come back too soon, and then eventually returned for the final four matches while not in the best shape.

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Sheffield team-mate Brendan Connolly feels Muse's injury affected the outcome - Nottingham Panthers winning the play off final on their own ice.

Muse, who has now returned to Rødovre Mighty Bulls in Denmark, recalled the moment he was hurt, during the second period of his first Steeler game.

"I skated behind the net to play a puck and as I turned my skate got stuck in a rut in the ice and my leg didn’t turn with the rest of my body" he told The Star.

"Our strength coach Danny (Mawer) did a great job of helping me rehab and I was aiming to get back for the last couple of regular season games, but unfortunately I had a little bit of a set-back halfway through the rehab.

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"I had never had that type of injury so I felt like it had healed enough to start practising again, but in hindsight I should have given it another week to heal more.

John Muse in action for Sheffield;  pic Dean WoolleyJohn Muse in action for Sheffield;  pic Dean Woolley
John Muse in action for Sheffield; pic Dean Woolley

"Personally, it was very upsetting how the season ended. I always want to win and not being able to play the majority of the season and then not being able to play as well as I know I can when I came back was frustrating."

Muse, once under contract to the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL, felt he had been: "At the top of my game coming into the season, but only got to show that for 30 minutes in the first game.

"Unfortunately, I couldn’t recover from my injury quick enough to get back to that level by the end of the season and had to adjust how I played in order to try not to injure my groin further."

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It wasn't all doom and gloom for the netminder, though. Far from it.

John Muse keeps watch: Pic by Mark FerrissJohn Muse keeps watch: Pic by Mark Ferriss
John Muse keeps watch: Pic by Mark Ferriss

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Sheffield,” he said.

"We had a great group of guys who made it fun to come to the rink every day and even though the fans weren’t with us in the rink, it was a pleasant surprise seeing their excitement for the team, and hockey in general, over social media."

Muse has been doing "vert light rehab exercises over the past few weeks" and said he hoped to be back to his top notch during his off-season training programme.

"I will be 100% and ready to go for the start of next season" he said.