DULUTH - For the second time in a week, the Gwinnett Gladiators had a visitor from the Thrashers.
Peter Bondra, recovering from a groin/abdominal injury, practiced with Atlanta's ECHL affiliate in Gwinnett on Wednesday and may do so for the rest of this week while the Thrashers are out of town.
Bondra was placed on injured reserve Dec. 4, just 10 goals shy of a milestone 500. Only 34 players in the history of the NHL have reached that benchmark. The 37-year-old right wing has earned 867 points in just over 1,000 NHL games.
"It's kind of cool really," Gladiators head coach Jeff Pyle said. "He's out there skating at the end (of practice), guys stop what they're doing and watch. But the thing I like about it is Peter's out there working hard. If he can do it, why can't we?
"It energizes our guys so much. I think it's more important for us than them."
Last week Thrashers' goaltender Mike Dunham played with the team for two games on a conditioning assignment.
"They've all been really great here," Pyle said. "Atlanta, I can't even tell you what a great organization they are."
While Dunham was officially recalled from Gwinnett on Tuesday, Tuomas Tarkki was reassigned to the Gladiators from their American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago the same day.
Tarkki practiced with Gwinnett on Wednesday and the Gladiators released Chad Collins to make room. Tarkki began the season with Gwinnett before being signed by Chicago where he appeared in 15 games.
The Wolves still have an overabundance of netminders, a partial product of injuries at the Atlanta level. Four goalies, including former Gladiators Michael Garnett and Adam Berkhoel, remain with Chicago. Also rostered are Steve Shields and Jani Hurme.
Up in A
An update on how former Gladiators are doing at the next level:
Chris Durno has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 21 games for Milwaukee of the AHL. Durno spent his first two years as a pro with Gwinnett and played 13 games of the season here before the Admirals called him up.
The 6-foot-4 center had his best game Jan. 5 against Iowa when he scored two goals, including the game winner.
•Pascal Pelletier, picked as an ECHL All-Star for his efforts prior to joining Providence, has 11 points in 16 games with the Bruins. Pelletier came to Gwinnett in a trade at the end of last season and re-signed for the 2005-06 campaign. The high-scoring second-year forward was leading the Gladiators in points at the time of his callup and has continued to do well in the AHL. The native of Newfoundland has three multi-point games with Providence and two of his four goals have been game-winners.
•Brad Schell has played in three games since getting his first callup to Chicago 10 days ago. The 21-year-old Thrashers prospect has a goal and assist so far.
Schell nearly matched his goal total (14) from all of last year before leaving the Gladiators. He had 12 goals and 29 points in 28 games with Gwinnett through Jan. 8.
The Gladiators have two more games, both on the road, leading up to the All-Star break. They are at Greenville on Friday and Pensacola on Saturday. The next home game is Jan. 29 against Columbia.