SHEFFIELD STEELERS have been dealt a further injury blow over talented Swedish forward Andreas Valdix after an operation to fix his hand injury had to be postponed.
Along with fellow countryman Yared Hagos, Valdix was missing for a second successive game on Saturday night as the Steelers reached the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup when a 7-1 victory at Ice Sheffield secured a 9-3 aggregate triumph over Edinburgh Capitals.
Hagos is day-to-day as he recovers from concussion after taking a blindside hit to the head from Belfast Giants’ David Rutherford last Sunday at Sheffield Arena last Sunday.
In the same match - which the Steelers won 5-1 - Valdix was twice slashed on the hand, leaving him requiring surgery.
But that surgery had to be cancelled on Saturday morning after the hospital where it was scheduled to take place had to deal with a number of incoming trauma incidents.
Steelers’ head coach Paul Thompson, while happy with his side’s win over Edinburgh, still cut a frustrated figure at Ice Sheffield on Saturday night when discussing his side’s injury woes.
But he remained non-committal, replying only “maybe” when asked if there was any likelihood that former Steelers’ defenceman Jace Coyle would be returning to the club to help provide cover – either on a temporary or permanent basis.
On Friday night, 26-year-old Coyle’s ECHL club, the Quad City Mallards, announced on their Twitter feed that he was returning to the 2015-16 Elite League champions, promptly dropping him from their roster.
“Valdix went for his operation on Saturday morning,” explained Thompson. “But it had to be cancelled because the hospital had a couple of trauma situations come in. So that’s a bit of a blow because every day he doesn’t get it done is another day longer before we get him back.
“Hagos is day-by-day and we’re working him through the concussion and we’ll see where that gets us but, hopefully, Yared will be back with us shortly.”
With Cardiff having won twice in Sheffield in the league this season, Steelers head to South Wales on Sunday knowing a win is vital, even at this relatively early stage of the campaign.
Leaders Cardiff Devils stretched their lead at the top to nine points after a 6-3 win at bottom club Coventry Blaze on Saturday night, although second-placed Steelers do have five games in hand.
“It is a big game for us,” said Thompson, whose team emerged 5-4 victors on their previous visit to Cardiff this season in the group stages of the Challenge Cup.
“We played really well down there earlier in the season and we’re hurting a bit right now in terms of injuries so it needs everybody to step up.
We played really well down there earlier in the season and we’re hurting a bit right now in terms of injuries so it needs everybody to step up.Paul Thompson, Sheffield Steelers’ head coach
“We’ll have a plan and a system going in there as we do for every game and we need to stick together and get a result. Whether we’ve got players out or not we’re still more than capable of getting a result against a really good hockey club.”