DULUTH - Brad Schell was officially added to the Gwinnett Gladiators' roster on Tuesday, giving the ECHL team a lineup that includes the league's two most recent MVPs.
Schell was selected last season after putting up 110 points in just 63 games for the Gladiators. Jeff Campbell, who was the ECHL's most valuable player in 2005-06 when Gwinnett made it to the Kelly Cup finals, is the team's leading point-getter this year.
Schell hasn't played a game since last spring. He attended training camp with the Philadelphia Flyers and then the American Hockey League Providence Bruins. It was while at AHL camp that Schell injured his back.
He returned home to Saskatchewan and several weeks ago felt well enough to practice with the university team there. After getting his immigration papers squared away, Schell joined the Gladiators. A 2002 draft pick of the Atlanta Thrashers, Schell practiced with Gwinnett last week and will be available to play this weekend.
Head coach Jeff Pyle is expecting a smooth transition - but not the world.
"He knows the systems," Pyle said. "He's still a little out of shape. I'm not expecting him to come in and carry the team. It'll take a little time to probably find himself."
The Gladiators can certainly use his services. They are short-handed with several players either injured or on call-up to the AHL and have three games in 48 hours at home this weekend. They are also locked in a battle for positioning near the top of the South Division standings.
Pyle said he would use Schell and two players coming back from concussions - Matt Anderson and Mike Vigilante - with discretion.
"We're going to be smart about it, too," Pyle said. "If we think we need to rest him a game here and there, we can move guys around. With Vig coming back and Matt coming back, we'll be smart about using them in games.
"I think Scheller will be fine. It's just a matter of finding a way to get us healthy."
In other news, the repercussions of a scrum at the end of the Gladiators' home game on Saturday night were announced by the league Monday.
South Carolina's Nate Kiser was suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount. The Stingrays, who lost 7-3, and their coach Jared Bednar were also fined. As time ran out in the game, an altercation broke out in one of the corners, sparked by Gladiators' Myles Stoesz going after one of South Carolina's players. Both lines converged and were subsequently restrained by the officials. Kiser didn't go quietly when Stoesz, who picked up 17 minutes in penalties because of the incident, pointed at the already excited crowd to wind them up further.
Officials had a difficult time getting Kiser to the bench and, finally, off to the locker room. Stoesz was given a slashing minor, a fighting major and a game misconduct, but the ECHL took no further disciplinary action against him.