Schremp keeping it positive

JIM CRESSMAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

There are a lot of positives floating around in Rob Schremp's head these days.

The London Knights centre has yet to score a goal in the Memorial Cup after 41 in the regular season and a club-high 13 in the playoffs.

But he said yesterday it's no reason to get down on himself.

Schremp views his three assists on the Knights' eight goals as being just as important as putting the puck in the net. And one of those assists was on Marc Methot's overtime winner against Rimouski.

"I'm setting up my players right now," Schremp said.

"It's just like Steve Nash for the Phoenix Suns. He passes around all the time, and when he feels he has to shoot, he shoots. I think that's where I am right now. I'd rather set Corey (Perry) and Dylan (Hunter) and those guys up right now.

"I'm just passing the puck around to the guys who've got the hot hands. As long as it's all positive and not many negatives. That's all I'm looking for right now."

Schremp is also been feeling good about his new-found defensive play, something the Edmonton Oilers have taken a shining to after drafting him in the first round last June.

"Rob has learned to play the game playing for the Hunters," Oilers GM Kevin Lowe has said after watching Schremp play this season, including this week.

Knights head coach Dale Hunter has constantly reminded Schremp there is no more making it to the NHL as a one-dimensional player.

"On the ice, my game has taken a total 180," Schremp said. "I was a plus-30 this year and I still had 90 points.

"My game is totally different and I think it has definitely developed here."

Schremp came to the Knights from the Mississauga IceDogs in October 2003. Because of his lack of defensive effort, he found himself in Dale Hunter's doghouse a few times and was benched.

Today Schremp credits Hunter for doing that.

General manager Mark Hunter laughed when he was asked if he ever thanked a coach for benching him during his 12 years in the NHL.

"I think Rob saw Dale was doing the best for him and the team and he learned from it," Hunter said.

"I think he has matured. He's a lot better two-way hockey player. We all knew he had a gift of skills to shoot and pass. He just had to buy in and he's been a real good team player."

It's easy to see Schremp is at peace with his game.

"I've played good, strong defensive hockey. I haven't had any defensive lapses the last two games and that's the main thing. I just don't want to be the guy that screws up and loses the game for us in the Mem Cup."

Dale Hunter, as is his custom, passed the credit back to the player.

"There was lot of pressure on Rob last year," Hunter said. "It was his draft year and you think you've got to score goals. He was thinking goals and points instead of just going both ways. He scored a lot (28 goals last season) but this year he became a complete player."

Dale Hunter, who spent 19 years in the NHL, said Schremp has a good future with the Oilers.

"He's playing defence. I've had him out late in the game. It's an achievement for him for going both ways because to go to the National Hockey League, you can't be one-dimensional.

"He'll be a good player for Edmonton. He's got the Joe Sakic shot, a great wristshot. He's going to put some numbers up in the NHL."


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