Sheffield Steelers: Here’s Johnny - whether fans want him or not

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WHEN goalies drop a clanger the whole team suffers.

John DeCaro dropped one - but luckily the damage has been limited.

The American netminder quit the Steelers halfway through a two-year contract for Norway - but then realised it didn’t suit him and has re-signed in Sheffield.

“I made a mistake, simple as,” said DeCaro, who will also continue his degree course at the University of Sheffield.

“I saw something and didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. It was a significant salary increase and I signed it. A month later I realised I’d made the wrong decision. I didn’t like the way I left the club, it didn’t sit right with me. I had made many friends like Jonathan Phillips, Mark Thomas and Jason Hewitt.

“We had been through a lot together and I felt I’d let them and the club down with my decision.”

DeCaro is confident coach Ryan Finnerty’s rebuild will deliver what they couldn’t last year - a championship. He’s delighted in particular that Steelers have acquired five-season AHL right winger Cory Pecker.

“I think we have a great player in Pecker, I’m hearing he is as good as anything over here, a real talent. I also think the signing of Danny Meyers (from Nottingham Panthers) is a fantastic capture. He will really help secure things up at the back. This is a great time to be a Steeler, I made my mistake but I’ve been lucky enough to put the situation right, now it’s time to win.”

His return has largely been greeted with a luke-warm reaction - some fans weren’t keen on his style or his initial decision to quit.

But teammate Mark Thomas says “I guess the fans see a different guy than we do. You won’t find a more competitive person. He is a focused and determined character.

“We didn’t win last year because as a team we felt short. Our problems weren’t because of Johnny, in fact he kept us in more one goal games than we deserved.

“Some fans say he gives up loads of rebounds, well show me a goalie who doesn’t? There aren’t any. I’ve played in front of Lehman, Mustukov and DeCaro and Johnny doesn’t give up any more rebounds than the others.”