10 June 2008

Mad love for Schrempy from the Freep

Dear Don Waddell,
Sign this guy. Make KLowe an offer he can't refuse. We need this kid. He is one of the greatest guys I know, and will fit nicely in the room. Make it happen. Ilya needs a center.
Not a lot of love right now,

Schremp working toward coveted goal -- NHL
It's the question he hears most often and the hardest one to answer.

"Why aren't you in the NHL," former London Knights star and 2005-06 Canadian Hockey League scoring champ Rob Schremp said. "I'm asked it all the time. What do you say to that? I don't know. I'm working as hard as I can to get there and stay. We're not all like Sam Gagner and Pat Kane and can make it to the NHL at 18-years-old."

Yesterday, Schremp had a ball glove on and played slo-pitch with the Knights alumni at Labatt Park as part of a tribute to Don Brankley. He handled his old trainer's ceremonial first pitch -- symbolic, perhaps, if you were wondering when the Oilers would let Schremp take the ball, or puck, and run with it.

But the NHL isn't always about talent and hard work. Often, it's about opportunity and being in the right spot at the right time.

Danny Syvret started the season with Schremp in Springfield -- Edmonton's farm club. But the former London captain and CHL defenceman of the year finished up on loan to Hershey before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers this week.

It could be his big break after a few stints with the Oilers. Schremp couldn't have been happier for him -- calling him one of the "best skaters I've ever seen."

"I look at it as a tremendous opportunity," Syvret said. "I figured it might happen but a little closer to the draft (in Ottawa in two weeks). I watched the Flyers this year in the playoffs. It's exciting."

"When I went to Hershey, I played a lot of minutes and got some power-play time. I didn't get that in Springfield. I went to Hershey and it was a lot like London. We would sell out our 11,000-seat arena. The fans don't help you play better but it's nice to be in that environment. When you walk around London, you see people wearing their Knights stuff and it's the same thing there. Everywhere you go, you saw people wearing a Hershey Bears cap, t-shirt or jacket."

Edmonton said Syvret is a good player but didn't fit their plans. Obviously, Schremp still does or he'd have been shipped out, too.

"I made the AHL all-star game, I had a point-a-game this year in Springfield and I was a first-round pick so I know I'm somewhere in the plans," Schremp said. "Every month, (Oilers GM) Kevin Lowe or (vice-president of hockey operations) Kevin Prendergast showed up in Springfield."

Schremp turns 22 next month. He went to California -- not just to hang with Corey Perry on the beach -- but to sweat through the drills of Oilers strength and conditioning consultant Chad Moreau -- the brother of Oilers captain Ethan Moreau.

Knights head coach Dale Hunter has watched him skate during the off-season in London too. He has been impressed.

"Rob is skating hard," he said. "To do it this early shows he's focused. It's a big year for him (the final season of his initial three-year contract) and with his skill, it's only a matter of time. He'll get his chance. Edmonton has a young team, they didn't make the playoffs (last season) and they'll want to make it this year."

At first, most figured the Oilers were trying to teach Schremp a lesson by holding him back. Now, some think he would be better served in a different organization.

Syvret thinks Schremp will be rewarded for his hard work.

"I think he's going to get a good, long look with the Oilers this year," he said.

It can be argued Schremp has proven himself in the minors already.

"The AHL's a good league, there are big guys who are all hungry and it's not easy to get a point a game," Hunter said.

Syvret and Corey Perry live in London in the off-season. When Schremp visits, he works out with them along with trainer Dave Moore.


Mortimer Peacock said...

Amen, amen.

Maali said...

I love how we always agree. :D