Steelers’ star Sestito eager to get back into game action

NHL forward Tom Sestito says he would be happy to remain at Sheffield Steelers for the rest of the season should an end to the current lockout in North America not be found.

The 25-year-old New York-born winger was the fourth player from the world’s top league to switch to the less glamorous surroundings of the UK’s Elite League this week, due to the ongoing labour dispute – largely over players’ earnings – between owners and the players.

It is clear that if a breakthrough is made in the on-off talks between the two sides that power forward Sestito would soon be returning to the US to attempt to make himself a regular for the Philadelphia Flyers, the Atlantic Division team he made 14 appearances for last season.

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That would leave the Steelers with the problem of finding a second replacement for Cory Pecker, the out-of-shape forward who was fired by head coach Ryan Finnerty two weeks ago.

Sestito makes his debut for the Steelers in tonight’s tough away trip to Fife Flyers, before being introduced to a more vocal home crowd against defending league champions Belfast Giants at the Motorpoint Arena tomorrow night (5pm).

Sestito, whose 2011-12 season was curtailed by a niggling groin injury after making the breakthrough into the Flyers line-up, said he was keen to get started and produce the kind of performances that earned him a new one-year $650,000 deal with the Flyers in the summer.

“Obviously, I’m planning on being here until the NHL comes to an agreement,” said Sestito.

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“But if that doesn’t happen then I’ll be here all year which is definitely something I’d be happy to do.

“My game’s not going to change, I’m a power forward, I’m going to play the body and if a fight comes it comes, but I’m also here to score some goals as well.

“I definitely want to prove that there is more to my game than the physical side. I try to create space for the more skilled guys by banging the body, but I also manage to create space for myself and I’ll go to the net to score.

“They might not be pretty goals, but they go in the net all the same.”

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After a slightly groggy first practice session with his new team-mates just hours after landing on Thursday morning, Sestito hopes to shake off any further jet-lag this weekend.

“I think my game will translate well over here,” he added.

“It’s been frustrating these past weeks because you spend the summer getting fit, so I just want to get going now. I hope they just throw me in against Fife – that’s how I prefer it.”

Twitter: @PHarrisonYP