Following the Flyers’ exit in the postseason, I caught up with Flyers’ prospect Tom Sestito. Below is his interview transcript with Inside Hockey.
IH: Following a tough end to the season with injury and not appearing in the playoffs with the Flyers’ this postseason, what is your workout plan as you head into the offseason? What aspects of your game you would like to improve?
Tom: “It wasn’t the way I envisioned my year going but I think I made some good strides showing I can be a physical presence and get people to look over their shoulders and get off their game. I’m home in Rome NY training for a month or so and then I head back to Philly the first week of July to train until camp starts. I want to increase my strength and speed before next season and show my offensive ability.”
IH: What was your initial reaction to Joe Paterson being relieved as head coach in Adirondack? How was he as a coach?
Tom: “I was a bit surprised but this organization is all about winning and missing the playoffs in consecutive years something has to change and in sports the coach is usually the first to go whether its right or wrong.”
IH: Do you believe assistant head coach, Riley Cote would be a worthy candidate for the Phantoms?
Tom: “Riley Cote is a great coach he worked with me quite a bit with some different things, he has a lot of respect in that dressing room. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was one of the people interviewing for the head coaching job.”
IH: Last year you were able to get your first chance to play with the Flyers’, what did you think of the city and their fans? How do they compare to the fans you played in front of when you played in Columbus?
Tom: “The fans in Philly are one of a kind, I loved playing in front of them they give you a lot of energy to feed off of, The city is great there is a lot to do with great food and people, I’ve made a lot of friends there just not on the team and would love to stay there for a long time.”
IH: In your time in Philadelphia last year, were there any specific players that mentored you the most? With a lot of new players on the Flyers’ roster last year did you feel it was easier “becoming one the guys”?
Tom: “When I came in last year I didn’t know many guys and wasn’t really around the room that much until playoffs, but every guy in that locker room is a class act guy whether they make seven million or league minimum they treat you the same and it’s not like that everywhere, I was nervous at first going into the room but they make it a real easy adjustment.”
IH: How was Jody Shelley as a teammate? Did he give you any tips on how to handle yourself on the ice in regards to fighting or how to act off the ice?
Tom: “I knew Jody from my time in Columbus and he helped me out when I was there, it’s a pleasure playing by his side seeing how I used to go watch him play when I was younger and he was playing for the Syracuse Crunch, any questions I have he always helps me out with tendencies with other fighters and what not.”
IH: What do you think about the possibility of playing against your brother Tim of the Devils’ in the NHL? Have you discussed the possibility with your brother and what are his thoughts?
Tom: “I would love to play against my brother it’s always a fun time, we played against each other a few times in the AHL. I can’t say that my mother likes [it], I think her heart would be at a normal beat if we were on the same team.”
IH: You’re set to become a restricted free agent this year. Is Philadelphia a place you would like to call home? Have the Flyers’ talked about their future plans with you?
Tom: “You can ask any player that has ever played in the Philadelphia organization and they will all tell you the same thing, it’s a class act organization from top to bottom, I would love to call Philly my home for the rest of my career.”
Below are Tom’s three fights in one game against the New York Rangers on February 5, 2012.