Welcome aboard Tito

Jason Gregor
November 23 2008 05:06PM

With Jesse Boulerice being picked up by the Avalanche, that gave the Oilers an open roster spot, and as I reported on my radio show on Friday, they called up Tim Sestito today.

Who you ask? Good question.

Sestito is currently the Captain of the Falcons. His offensive numbers 2-1-3 in 16 games show he won’t be called up to supply offense. He is a typical character player. He is a leader according to his coach Jeff Truitt.

“Tim is here due to work ethic more than anything. He is prepared to play every night, and that is why he is our captain. He is a good role model for the young guys. He competes every shift, and he is a good penalty killer,” said Truitt on my radio show ten days ago.

At the time of the interview, I had asked Truitt about Sestito being a captain rather than a guy who would get the call to Edmonton . But his answer describes the type of player he is. And with Craig Mactavish stating he wants his team to compete harder every shift, then Sestito seems like the type of player they want on their 4th line.

But why not the usual suspects?

Rob Schremp scored his first goal of the season last night and is currently tied for 48th in AHL scoring with 1 goal and 14 assists in 15 games. Schremp is having a good season, but he won’t bring an element of grit, and they don’t see him ahead of any of the kids in Edmonton right now. Ryan Potulny is scoring, nine goals in 17 games, he won’t be a top nine forward here either.

Gilbert Brule is the only one of the three who brings what this the Oilers think they are lacking; grit and hunger. He has six goals, but more importantly he does have some grit to his game.

Brule’s game is coming around, but he is still questioning his instincts on the ice. According to a scout (who didn’t want to be named) I spoke with, “Brule has yet to find the game he had as a junior, where he was a dominant player. His time in Columbus has really screwed up his game. They wanted him to be so defensively aware, that now he is still hesitating in many situations.” This scout doesn’t work for the Oilers or the Blue Jackets, so he is bias free in his assessment.

If Brule is second-guessing his decisions in the AHL, I doubt he will get called up to the NHL, where those split-second decisions can be even more fatal.

But don’t worry; this kid will be in Edmonton soon. “I think Brule will be a regular top-nine forward for many years. I saw him the first weekend of the season, and his game now is 10 times better. His competitiveness is his best asset, he is not afraid to run a guy, and he looks like he has found his confidence,” said the scout.

The lines at Oiler practice on Saturday lead me to believe that Sestito might have a shot at getting in a game soon.

Penner Horcoff Hemsky Nilsson Cogliano Reddox Moreau Pouliot Cole Smid Brodziak Stortini

Gagner didn’t practice because he tweaked an ankle in the loss to Detroit . It doesn’t sound serious and he should be ready to play against the Kings on Wednesday, and when he is back Reddox will find himself on the 4th line.

Sestito could easily take the place of any of those three guys on the 4th line. He is a centremen but can play the wing.

I will say this. If Sestito comes up here and doesn’t hit anyone, or isn’t hard to play against I will puke. I’d rather see Brule struggle and make mistakes, rather than see another player recalled who doesn’t understand what grit truly is.

Sorry to ruin your weekend Oiler fans, but it looks like you’ll have to wait a bit longer to see either Schremp or Brule in Oil silks anytime soon.

—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6pm on TEAM 1260 or online at www.justagame.ca.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Jonathan Willis
November 23 2008, 05:10PM
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I think Brule will be a regular top-nine forward for many years. I saw him the first weekend of the season, and his game now is 10 times better. His competitiveness is his best asset, he is not afraid to run a guy, and he looks like he has found his confidence,”

Very, very good news. Thanks for the quote, Jason.

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#2 Antony Ta
November 23 2008, 05:21PM
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I'm surprised they didn't call up a guy like Tyler Spurgeon who could take faceoffs and kill penalties.

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#3 AndrewB
November 23 2008, 05:33PM
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I didn't know Wanye had a radio show.

Thanks Gregor.

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#4 David S
November 23 2008, 05:50PM
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Or maybe Wanye IS the radio superhero known in real ife as Jason Gregor. Hmmmm...interesting!

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#5 Wanye Gretz
November 23 2008, 05:53PM
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Wow it's evening at the Apollo in here tonight isn't it Nation?

If I had a radio show it would be called "Wanye Gretz: Das Champion." It would be broadcast in Esperanto and it would unite families, end wars and cure disease.

It would also feature Hudsons ads and take calls.

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#6 Lubo71
November 23 2008, 07:07PM
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You should get a radio show. Where is the OilersNation radio hour??

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#7 The Towel Boy
November 23 2008, 07:45PM
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Who saw this coming?

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#8 B.C.B.
November 23 2008, 08:05PM
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I did, in my comment on Lowetide this morning proves it.

The Oilers have a plan, I just can figure it out (well I can figure it out, but not the rationale behind it). I think it includes at 9th place finish in the West and firings all round. Seriously, lats start trading (or just throwing out) the dead wait. I start with Poo, Brod, and Stortini. Lets trade some of those prospects for something that can help (top 4 defensive man And Right handed center).

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#9 Dennis
November 23 2008, 09:56PM
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My weekend was ruined when I found out the Hawks wouldn't deal Adam Burish or Colin Fraser.

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#10 Deans
November 23 2008, 11:39PM
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Its pretty clear that Shremp will be packaged in a deal in a few months. Even if he was called up my guess is that he holds some serious resentment against the Oilers. An AHL 4th line lifer just got called up ahead of him.

If Sesisto doesnt provide instant "jam" for the Oil, the current regime could be in trouble.

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#11 Clarkenstein
November 24 2008, 08:58AM
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Almost December and Schremp gets his first goal!!! What a wasted pick this guy has turned out to be... to go along with some other wasted picks currently on the roster!! I only hope Sestito can win a faceoff, but then he will probably be asked to play out of position like others have been asked in the past.

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#12 Jonathan Willis
November 24 2008, 09:18AM
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What a wasted pick this guy has turned out to be… to go along with some other wasted picks currently on the roster!!

Yes, I to long for the heady days of the mid 90's, when Barry Fraser would waste picks on guys who never played NHL games... at least back in those days, the players didn't offend us by turning up on the NHL roster.

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#13 OILERSORDEATH
November 24 2008, 10:28AM
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It pains me to say this but if the Oil played with the same intensity and desperation like Vancouver does they would be a scary team. Nobody wants to hit!!!

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#14 Deans
November 24 2008, 11:00AM
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I still dont think Schremp is a wasted pick. I think next year he could be a 50+ point guy on a bad NHL team. I just dont see that bad NHL team residing in Edmonton.

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#15 Chris
November 24 2008, 11:29AM
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I don't mind the Schremp pick. Teams can find grinders and energy guys from many different sources. The only place to find high end offensive talent is at the draft. At the time, Oilers management and many fans, hoped Robbie could be that guy. (It's not like they took him first overall) This organization needs a franchise player. You have to take risks to find a diamond in the rough.

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#16 Gord
November 24 2008, 12:12PM
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"with 1 goal and 14 assists in 15 games" He's a point per game guy. If he doesn't have 14 assists the Falcons have 14 less goals. Schremp is quite a play maker and is quarterbacking the offense, from what I have read.

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#17 Cam
November 24 2008, 12:51PM
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Schremp will play in the NHL, but I agree with Deans, he won't be an Oiler. I think they just wanted to get something great in return for him if they traded and he isn't a blue chip prospect so they saw no need to move him until it became evident how good he was at a professional (AHL) level.

Besides, the Oiler Brand is supposed to feature fast, gritty exciting players. Why on earth they would let GlenX go when he is all those things bugs me. The fourth line last year sucked until he came in. that was the turning point in the season last year. His energy sparked the fourth line, which sparked the kids. 1.2 mil is chump change for the Oil even if eh turned out to be a bust they could have put him on waivers and someone would have taken him off our hands just due to the last half of last season.

I kind of went on a tangent there... but the point I was aiming for was that Schremp does not fit the Oilers brand, so he will be going. I do hope that Tambo recognizes the oilers brand when making decisions.

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#18 kris
November 24 2008, 12:54PM
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Very interesting stuff on Brule. Nice article.

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#19 Chris
November 24 2008, 03:06PM
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Hey Gregor, I heard that the Oilers very nearly picked up Wade Belak instead of bringing up Sestito. What is your take on this?

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#20 Jason Gregor
November 24 2008, 08:18PM
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Chris,

I was told they had a brief thought but that is about it regarding Belak.

Sestito is here to push Brodziak more than anything. They want him to get involved a bit more, but I could see Sestito lasting longer than Reddox. I just can't see Reddox bringing enough grit to be a 4th line guy. I could see Sestito and Brodziak on the 4th line for awhile.

Deans,

Schremp and Sestito have been good buddies since the age of 10, and Schremp called him the minute he heard and was pumped for his friend. Is he pissed, of course, but right now Schremp doesn't have many options.

Does he go overseas to play next year? Doubtful to give up on NHL dream so soon. He doesn't have much trade value right now, so he just has to keep working on his game. I don't see the Oil giving up on him just yet. He is still only 21 and is working hard on his game. If he keeps improving i think he will get a shot, but he is in tough because he will have to produce quickly.

The

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#21 Al
November 26 2008, 02:48PM
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The only way Schremp will get a shot is if the injury bug hits the kid line...

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