Greetings from Long Island.
Here are some notes from Wednesday’s practice in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Islanders.
Rob Schremp didn’t circle March 24 on his calendar. But the Thrashers forward is looking forward to Thursday’s game against the New York Islanders.
The Thrashers claimed Schremp on waivers from the Islanders on Feb. 28 after the 24-year old had scored a career-high 10 goals in 45 games. Thursday, Schremp returns to the Nassau Coliseum.
“It should be fun,” Schremp said Wednesday. “I was just there a month ago. There will be a lot of energy going into the game. They had my rights and they put me on waivers. It’s a chance to go back and play against them and prove what I can do at the NHL level.”
The Islanders claimed Schremp off waivers from Edmonton, which drafted him in the first round (No. 25 overall) in 2004. He appeared in just seven games with the Oilers over three seasons. In his two seasons with the Islanders, Schremp played in 89 games over two seasons with 17 goals and 30 assists.
“They gave me a chance last year and I was very appreciative of that,” Schremp said “There are no hard feelings. It’s part of hockey. There are a lot of guys there they are re-signing and I don’t think I was in the picture. I don’t have any hard feelings. I understand what the game is like. I appreciate what they did for me as far as giving me a chance.”
Schremp has one goal and a shootout goal in nine games with the Thrashers.
Playoffs a long shot
The Thrashers, with 10 games remaining, enter Thursday’s game 11th in the Eastern Conference and are nine points behind Buffalo for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Thrashers have been idle since Saturday’s 8-2 loss to the Sabres. After that game they were six points out of a playoff spot. However, they’ve had to watch as the teams ahead in the standings played and won. Buffalo, Carolina and Toronto all won Tuesday to increase their point margin over the Thrashers.
“That’s the hardest part to sit on,” coach Craig Ramsay said. “We didn’t play any where near the game we can play, we are supposed to play. I’m hoping it doesn’t eat away at [the players] too much watching other teams win while we are sitting at home.”
With so much ground to make up, Ramsay said his team can only focus on the game at hand.
“We’ve known for quite awhile that we had to run the table,” Ramsay said. “That’s what was so disappointing in Buffalo. … We expected a big game and didn’t get it. We have to focus on each individual game and know that that game tomorrow night we have to win.”
The mental game
Ramsay said Wednesday that one of the frustrating things about this season has been an inconsistent mental game by his team.
Twenty-three times this season, including twice in Saturday’s loss to the Sabres, the Thrashers have allowed an opponent back-to-back goals in less than two minutes. Seven times the consecutive goals have come in 39 seconds or less.
“We have to control the mental side so we are not affected by something bad that happens,” Ramsay said. “We don’t regroup as fast as we need to but there are times, against some of the top clubs, that we do regroup a little big quicker because of the focus that we’ve got in those games. In some of the games, we feel sorry for ourselves a little bit. We can’t do that. We have to go play our game and force teams to play our game. When we do that, that’s when we generate chances and we are fun to watch.”
No goalie decision
Ramsay said following practice that he had yet to decide who would start in goal against the Islanders. Ondrej Pavelec started in Buffalo and played one period before being relieved by Chris Mason.