Sheffield Steelers’ coach insists he was happy with the three players that were fired - implying that the group bore the main responsibility

As Sheffield Steelers bring a new defenceman into their ranks, coach Tom Barrasso has stated he had been "happy" with the three players that were released by the club last week.

Justin Buzzeo - who sparked the interest of Manchester Storm but is bound for Slovakia - Stefan Della Rovere, who has joined DEL2 side Dresdner Eislöwen, and goalie Matt Climie were all fired after five consecutive defeats.

The Steelers' boss, who is bringing in a new player to fill in for injured Josh McFadden,  recalled how he’d spoken with owner Tony Smith after twin defeats to Dundee Stars. Smith was "not pleased" with performances.

"We felt we needed something to happen and happen immediately,” said the coach. "That is what led to those decisions. I feel badly for all those players. Matt is maybe done with his career which is always a difficult decision to be involved with. The other two players have already found spots to play and I wish them the best of success.

"In all honesty, I was happy with their time here. It was unfortunate we were unable to perform better as a group."

Barrasso said there "was no easy decision...on a personal or a professional level.

Tom Barrasso at Sheffield Arena. Pic by Dean Woolley

Tom Barrasso at Sheffield Arena. Pic by Dean Woolley

"At the end of the day these kids are human beings and it is painful when they have to leave. There is always mixed emotions.

“I am sure there was some anger and rage and there's also a great deal of sadness that goes along with a team telling you you are not wanted any more. Not easy days."

Barrasso said inter-league rules needed examining after Steelers were unable to renew a loan deal with Jonas Fredriksson, of Sutton Sting.

Meanwhile, the coach is preparing for Wednesday's arrival of champions Cardiff Devils.

The weekend wins over Milton Keynes Lightning had illustrated that his side was now defending better, he said.

"We looked more relaxed in the defensive zone - were certainly gave the 'D' more support in the defensive zone to make it easier to break pucks out. I thought we did a really good job there. For me, that's the foundation for our game. So I was pleased with that."