NEW Sheffield Steelers’ head coach Tom Barrasso says he is only concentrating on the short-term as he looks to turn the club’s ailing 2018-19 season around.
The 53-year-old American was appointed on Tuesday to succeed Paul Thompson as head coach and unveiled to the media at Sheffield Arena on Thursday morning alongside owner Tony Smith.
The two-time Stanley Cup winner, who has enjoyed a varied coaching career previously in North America, Russia and Italy, said he will spend the next week evaluating the Steelers' roster before deciding whether any personnel changes are necessary.
Former goaltender Barrasso faces a baptism of fire for his first game in charge of the Steelers as he takes his new charges into the National Ice Centre to face arch-rivals Nottingham Panthers.
But he insisted he is not interested in looking look much further ahead than this weekend, but is confident he can turn the Steelers into a better team over the next few weeks.
"The longest journey starts with a single step," said Barrasso. "And we haven’t even taken that single step yet - that will be on Saturday night against Nottingham. We need to take that step and see where we’re at and then move forward from there.
"But I think to put an undue pressure to say that we need to get to a certain point until we have any basis about where we’re at is a group right now is not a fair to the players from my perspective."
Barrasso said he had a broad knowledge of the Elite League, both in terms of its quality and style, adding that he had watched videos of two of the Steelers' most recent performances to get a handle on his new charges.
He held his first practice session on Wednesday morning and said he was impressed with the pace and enthusiasm of the group, who will be given every opportunity to prove they deserve to remain in South Yorkshire.
Changes to the roster are an option, said both Barrasso and Smith, but the new head coach said he was not going to consider that possibility until he had fully evaluated the current roster over the next week or so.
"We’re not looking to make changes," added Barrasso "We’re looking to get better with what we have. And that is the challenge that I face and that is the challenge that the players face, it is their livelihood.
"If they want to be here they are going to have to buy in and perform how we are looking for them to perform."