Sheffield Steelers: No complacency from Pitule as double fitness wait rumbles on into Cardiff

It could be the most unusual of ironies.
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Tomáš Pitule was brought into Sheffield Steelers as a short-term replacement for the injured new boy Mason Mitchell.

Now Pitule is hurt - and Mitchell could, in theory, come in and replace him, this weekend.

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Steelers are hoping that Pitule's injury, sustained in Sunday's 5-0 victory at Dundee Stars will be a quick healer.

At this stage, though, they don't know for sure if he'll be fit for the match at Cardiff Devils on Saturday.

Neither are they sure if Mitchell will be able to make his debut after his issue, suffered in pre-season training.

But stranger things have happened, so the Sheffield team-sheet in Wales will be one to look out for.

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Pitule's upper body problem arrived just as he had started to nail down a place for himself.

The Czech centreman was moved up the lines last weekend after impressing coach Aaron Fox.

As bad luck would have it, he was hurt and did not complete the game.

He is a "probable" returnee this weekend, says Fox, but only if he continues to improve during the week.

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Club owner Tony Smith quickly warmed to Pitule's style but the player himself won't be getting complacent when he returns to the ice.

Tomas Pitule: pic by Dean WoolleyTomas Pitule: pic by Dean Woolley
Tomas Pitule: pic by Dean Woolley

The forward isn't making predictions about a lengthened contract, either.

"I have always had to fight for my spot in the team so this is nothing new for me...let's see what happens," the player said in a recent interview with The Star.

The owner's support was pleasing though, he said: "It means a lot for me and makes me happy" adding that he will keep working hard to earn his place at the table.

"I would like to stay here of course. That is my wish."

Mason Mitchell: getting close to making his debutMason Mitchell: getting close to making his debut
Mason Mitchell: getting close to making his debut
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Fans have seen Pitule display an aggressive edge around the visitors' net, occasion.

"The team needed it from me so I can play like this."

He said that role was not new to him, he had fulfilled it last season in his home country playing for Rytíri Kladno and VHK Vsetín.

The 32-year-old says his integration into the Sheffield organisation had been helped by the fact that there are two other Czechs on the team, Martin Latal and Adam Raska.

Asked if the trio had formed their own unit at the club, he replied: "Yes and no, those guys living in downtown and I am living in Catcliffe, so it's pretty far from them. Lats knows about everything here, nice to have Czech team mates here."