SUN Hockey Pool

Sestito aims to be a torpedo

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Tim Sestito is surprised as anyone that he got the call from Edmonton.

But now that he has, he wants to drop another surprise on everyone ... and stay.

"I was in shock," said the Springfield Falcons centre, who'll be an Edmonton Oilers centre tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Kings.

"I never in a million years thought I would be making it to this level. That said, I want to prove that I belong here.

"I know there's a lot of naysayers out there."

A lot of Oilers fans would rather see Gilbert Brule or Sestito's good friend, Rob Schremp, get called up, but with Edmonton looking for grit and physical play more than unproven offence, they rang up the six-foot, 195-pound New York native.

"I'm not the most skilled guy in the world. I go out there to try and bang and crash, get some momentum," he said after his first practice with the team yesterday. "I'm coming out to maybe provide some energy.

"The first thing I thought when I got called up is I can't wait to try and put somebody through the glass. That's my role, that's what I do. I want to hit somebody hard. I'm guessing that's what they (Oilers management) want.

"I'm not going to score 50 goals - I didn't score more than 20 in junior. I just want to go out and work as hard as I can. I'm going to go out and leave everything out there."

Sestito, who piled up 175 penalty minutes last season, has just six in 16 games this year, but he says he hasn't lost his edge. But being a captain and one of Springfield's key penalty killers is forcing him to be more selective.

"Last year I took a lot of minors, trying to find the medium from being an agitator and trying to draw penalties, but I ended up taking too many," he said. "I also kill a lot of penalties and I haven't figured out how you kill your own penalties. Sitting in the box for almost 200 minutes eats into your ice time. And being a leader down there I was playing the right way, not taking any stupid penalties. The needless hooking and slashing a guy in front of the ref isn't the smartest thing to be doing. Good clean hits are the best way to piss off the other team and not take penalties yourself."

One of the first calls Sestito, 24, received after the Oilers rang was from Schremp, who offered congratulations.

"We've been buddies since we were about 10 years old," he said.

"As soon as he found out he gave me a text and I talked to him. He said he couldn't be more happy for me. I know he wants to be here and he deserves it, he's working really hard. I've never seen him work this hard before.

"He gave me a shout and said 'Good luck,' and not to come back."

Craig MacTavish is hoping Sestito can bring what others in Oilers silks haven't.

"He played well in training camp for us, tweaked our interest there, too,"said the coach. "He'll take the puck to the net ... create some energy out there."

VISNOVSKY WILL BE 100%

He had a bit of a scare after colliding with Zack Stortini in practice Saturday, but defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky is back skating and says he'll be 100% for tomorrow's game against his former team.

"I had a day off, had good treatment,"said Visnovsky, who had to be helped off the ice, unable to put any weight on his knee. "I went for an MRI two days ago and the doctor said it was OK. It'll be perfect for Wednesday's game."

He was a little worried at first, though.

"I had a couple of surgeries before (on that knee) about five years ago."

Sam Gagner, who was resting a twisted ankle, was also back skating and says he'll be fine by tomorrow.


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