With NHL games on hiatus, Ben Scrivens does not want to waste his time worrying about his career in the big leagues right now.
He says his only focus is to help his AHL Toronto Marlies team win.
The goalie admits there is some pressure to impress his affiliate team when the big league season gets going, but tries to not worry about it during the lockout.
“I don’t think about that stuff,” he said, outside the Marlies dressing room after stopping 39 shots in his team’s 5-4 overtime victory against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday at the Copps Coliseum. “You try to just focus on what you’re doing down here [Marlies].
“The lockout is out of our control. So to spend time worrying about it and thinking about what ifs and all that stuff is kind of fruitless.
“You’re better off to focus all your energy and all your attention on the place that you are at right now and that’s here in the ‘A’ with the Marlies for me.”
After signing a two-year contract with the Leafs in September, Scrivens believes there’s still room for improvement in his game.
“It’s tough to say,” he said. “It’s so early in the season [AHL]. You have to look at the full season last year.
“Obviously I finished well. But there were ups and downs throughout the year and this year maybe isn’t starting as great as I liked but sometimes that’s a learning curve too.”
The 6-2 goalie was signed as a free agent in April 2010, putting in a split season that year with the East Coast Hockey League’s (ECHL) Reading Royals and then playing 33 games with the Marlies where he finished with a 13-12 record.
Scrivens collected more wins the next year where he racked up 22 wins and 15 losses in 39 games.
He was also called up for his first NHL start on Nov. 3 against the Columbus Blue Jackets after James Reimer suffered a concussion and earned his first professional hockey league win.
After that, Scrivens continued to serve as a backup goalie for Jonas Gustavsson for 12 games with a 3.13 GAA.
“I haven’t really changed my game at all,” Scrivens said. “I think that would be a detriment.
“I feel like I’m successful the way that I played [last year in the AHL and NHL]. Right now it’s just getting back to the groove or as close to the groove that I had at the end of last year.
“It’s going to take time and it’s going to take hard work. So from last year to this year, I’m trying to maintain and maybe become more consistent. And that takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time as well.”
The Alberta native has played four out of six games for the Marlies so far a month into the AHL’s regular season.
His last game on Friday was a back and forth battle with the Bulldogs that included a controversial goal that allowed Hamilton to tie the game at four.
Scrivens said one of the Hamilton players pushed him off the goal post and left an opening for the puck to slide in.
“I have a good relationship with the referees,” Scrivens said. “I definitely wasn’t yelling at him or anything.
“The play was over and the goal was called a goal. It was just a chance after the play had happened that allowed us to chat about it.”
The Marlies have not announced whether Scrivens will start in the next game against the Abbotsford Heat on Thursday as the team will be playing all their games away from home for the next two weeks.