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.