New Kid on the Block

Jason Gregor
December 03 2008 10:00AM

The new kid will play with the Kids tonight. Rob Schremp will play on the left side with Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano, and this is clearly his best opportunity to showcase his offensive upside.

In his three previous NHL games, it’s fair to say Schremp wasn’t put in that situation. Playing between three and eight minutes a game on a fourth line wasn’t the best opportunity for him, but tonight Schremp is excited about his shot.

“This is the best opportunity so far for me to come up and show what I can. I’m pumped about it, and hopefully with those two guys we can generate something. It should be a bit more natural with Sammy and Andrew, being on the same wavelength. Thinking the same type of game makes it easier.

“We are known as skill guys who are going to make skilled plays. It is easier than playing with a guy who is worried about getting the puck deep first and crashing and banging. It is hard to read off a guy like that, when you don’t think like that,” continued Schremp.

Schremp is much more mature, and seems more prepared to make the most of this opportunity. He admitted that his conditioning is the best it’s ever been, and that will allow him to be more effective in every area.

Sitting with a big dip in his mouth, Schremp and I talked about this being the right time for him. He was almost at ease.

“I can say it right now I don’t feel nervous. I’m excited about the opportunity. I feel I’ve done all the right things up to now, and I just have to bring the things I was doing in Springfield up here, and hopefully that helps us win.”

Schremp and MacTavish had a one-on-one chat at the end of the morning skate today, and according to the coach it was pretty basic.

“Just basic tactical things within our system and some simple objectives that we’d like to see him input into his game.”

MacTavish’s body language and how he spoke about Schremp sure gave the impression that he feels #88 is finally ready to contribute.

“I think he is ready for this opportunity. He looked good this morning and in the short time I saw, his skating looks better. He has put in a lot of work to get this opportunity, and he deserves this shot. He has definitely made progress and I’m looking forward to seeing him tonight.

“I want to give him a chance in a role where he can succeed. Ideally it would be when our team was playing better, but tonight he will be put in a position with some added responsibility and I think he is ready for it.”

You can expect to see Schremp on the second PP unit as well tonight.

An old face returns

He was supposed to play Saturday in St. Louis, but the flu bug changed those plans. Tonight, however, fans will see Mathieu Garon get a start for the first time since Nov 6. Needless to say Garon is raring to go and feels he has lots to prove.

“My game is back to where I want it, and now I just have to prove it in a game,” he stated in a very brief conversation.

The biggest concern for Garon will be rust. He looked incredibly shaky for the first ten minutes of relief against Detroit on Nov 20, but found his comfort zone as the game went on. Tonight he doesn’t have the luxury of feeling himself into a game. He plans on taking some extra shots in the warm up to hopefully ensure he is comfortable from the opening draw.

—Listen to Gregor weekdays from 3 to 6 pm on the 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 Rindog
December 03 2008, 02:10PM
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Flu or not, isn't it sad that our team MVP from last season has to be worried about rust???

The line-up we will ice tonight is a close to CORRECT as it has been all season...too bad it took 24 games to get there.

We should still switch Cogs and Cole.

And we still need to get Brule up here on the 3rd line (Moreau can drop to the 4th). Reddox can go back down.

Then when Nilsson gets back - Pouliot hits the pressbox.

After that, when Big Mac draws in - Stortini gets the boot.

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#2 Moony
December 03 2008, 02:38PM
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Hey Gregor,

Do you feel that some of our young players feel unappreciated and under valued by the Oilers' organization when Sam Gagner has been terrible this season but has never been benched or had his ice time significantly reduced? For example Robert Nilsson earlier this year played a couple of bad games and was immiediatly demoted to the fourth line and then the press box. (I am not talking about now as I know he is injured)

Does Nilsson seem frustrated that Gagner seems to get all of this room to make mistakes and the other young guys don't?

I just wanted to get your thoughts on this as you are closer to the team then I am even when I follow the players to their cars in -30 degree whether after they just lost another game to the Dallas Stars in hopes of getting my picture taken with Jason Strudwick or Marc Pouliot.

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#3 Fiveandagame
December 03 2008, 02:55PM
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I am excited for Schremp. I hope he finds some positives in the game tonight and I hope those positives feature Gagner getting on the score sheet.

SO EXCITED!

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#4 milli
December 03 2008, 02:58PM
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Can't wait, Garon rocks the crease!!!! And Schremp....well, I hope he lights it up.

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#5 CurtisS
December 03 2008, 03:10PM
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Gregor:

I was just wanting to know what you thought of Robbie in practice. Mact sounded impressed. Anyways if you watched I would love to hear.

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#6 Brian Fellows
December 03 2008, 03:10PM
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"Sitting with a big dip in his mouth"

That's how you get ready for a game Rob. With tobacco products.

What a nerd.

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#7 CurtisS
December 03 2008, 03:14PM
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Brian Fellows:

You would be surprised how many hockey players chew. I bet its close to how many baseballs players do.

Maybe your the nerd?

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#8 Fiveandagame
December 03 2008, 03:29PM
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I hope for Schremp's sake we go to a shootout tonight and he does one of these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyBQ1d-e7n8

What a way to make a name for yourself in the bigs...

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#9 erixon
December 03 2008, 03:39PM
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Pfft, the new kid, he is replacing Nilsson, picking up his sloppy seconds, whats that about?

Haha, just kidding, but realistically, I see Schremp fitting into the role nicely, that, with some PP time, and we'll see where he is at. It will be interesting to see if he's another AHL star that can't produce at the next level, or if he is the real deal and shows he has some stuff.

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#10 Fiveandagame
December 03 2008, 03:40PM
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Nicotine improves metal alertness. Maybe the whole Oliers team should take a dip.

I mean who cares if they get the cancer in 15 years, their playing days are over....

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#11 The Towel Boy
December 03 2008, 04:06PM
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Wasn't a big dip a candy thing...with a candy stick that you dipped into powdered candy flavouring? mmm...sugar.

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#12 erixon
December 03 2008, 04:22PM
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thats fun dip. Delicious.

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#13 doritogrande
December 03 2008, 04:37PM
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"We should still switch Cogs and Cole."

You sure about that one? Because I think you mean Gagner, not Cogliano. He's been absolute crap this year, and needs a game or two in the pressbox to wake up.

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#14 Jason Gregor
December 03 2008, 06:47PM
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Moony,

Nilsson has no resentment for Gagner, because he himself hasn't been great. Your point is a fair one, that at times it looks like Gagner gets special treatment, but based on a conversation I had with Nilsson and his body language he doesn't seem annoyed at all.

Milli,

As for Schremp, to me he looks completely different than at other times when he was recalled. He is more fit, looks faster and feels that he has earned his shot. We spoke at length in the room, and he feels his overall game is the best it has been, and he is confident that if plays the same way here as he did in Springfield he should be fine.

It is hard in a morning skate to really evaluate a guy, but Schremp seemed comfortable this time around.

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#15 charlie
December 03 2008, 07:02PM
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HAhahaha

This is by far the greatest pic thrown up in this site yet.

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#16 milli
December 04 2008, 09:02AM
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I've never been a schremp booster, but he was one of the best players on the ice. Great skill, always responsible definsively. I was very very impressed.

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