Since it's a recent topic, and since the games no longer have any hope of postseason implications, here's one pertinent factoid: The Thrashers have allowed eight shorthanded goals, which is tied for sixth-worst in the league. So if the Isles want to start another penalty box parade, Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner could have their fun.
The trouble with repeat and stuttered rebuilds is, even if your ownership has kept things in an abortive state for years, a new GM and coach get the same rap as the regimes that came before. But tonight offers a more interesting angle on this rebuild: The return of Rob Schremp Hockey to the Coliseum. He has no hard feelings:
"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. 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…"
Schremp has one powerplay goal and one shootout conversion since getting claimed by the Thrashers. He hasn't really been used in prime offensive opportunities yet.
The Thrashers are two points ahead of the Islanders, but nine points out of eighth. This playoff chase is essentially over. All that's left is the lottery standings...and pride before the home fans.
The goalie situation is interesting. I don't see a reason to give Rick DiPietro consecutive starts right off his return from injury, but apparently that was at least a temptation for Jack Capuano: ""I think he could handle a game but the more we thought about it -- we don't play again until Thursday after tonight -- it made no sense. Probably could've, but we thought we'd give Al another game." So read of that what you will.
Sadly, Evgeni Nabokov (herniated frontal lobe, 4-8 years) will have to be a scratch for this game.
The Thrashers won the first two of this season series, but the Isles took the most recent one, in February, where Kyle Okposo scored twice and the Isles generally romped.