Rob Schremp knows exactly what he's getting into here.
While the high-scoring forward was in Edmonton at the Oilers' training camp, buddy Danny Syvret often would pop open his laptop and the two would follow London Knights games through the Internet.
At first, what they saw wasn't pretty. The defending Memorial Cup champions lost their first four games, but beat the Soo Greyhounds 6-2 on Sunday for their first points.
With Schremp, new team captain Dylan Hunter and goalie Adam Dennis now appearing in the lineup, there's a prevailing feeling four-game losing streaks won't be haunting the John Labatt Centre again anytime soon.
"Danny and I followed the team all the time," the 19-year-old Schremp said yesterday before practice at the Western Fair Sports Centre.
"It doesn't feel strange to be back. I love it here. It was tough at first (after being one of the last cuts by the Oilers), but I've got a lot of juice left in me. I'm looking forward to this."
Schremp's performance during Edmonton's training camp had many believing London native and Oilers coach Craig MacTavish would keep him on the big club -- at least for the first 10 games of the NHL season.
Beyond his scoring skills, Schremp's showbiz personality provides a lot of entertainment value that the overlords of hockey would love to see in many of its players.
He's usually a good quote with the media and he wears his emotions for all to see on the ice, evident from his dramatic reaction to being robbed on a point-blank shot in an exhibition game against Calgary that was often replayed on the highlight reels.
"If anything, being there as long as I did gives me motivation to do what I can to get back," said the Fulton, N.Y., native. "I know what I have to do here to help this team. Score goals. Better power play. Be a leader."
For the first time in his OHL career, the first pick in the 2002 draft by the Mississauga IceDogs will wear a letter on his jersey as one of London's alternate captains.
"I wanted to have at least an 'A' this year," Schremp said. "It's a great honour to wear it for an organization like the Knights. I know I'm here and need to provide a leadership role. I'm looking forward to that."
He'll get his first chance to lead the way tonight when London faces the Barrie Colts. Spurred by Ryan Hamilton's seven goals, Bryan Little's five goals and the fine netminding of Dan LaCosta, Barrie (4-0-0-1) remains the only team in the OHL without a regulation defeat.
Barrie's lone loss was in a shootout last Saturday against the Brampton Battalion. The Battalion got a goal on their fifth attempt by Luke Lynes, while all five Colts shooters were unsuccessful.
Tonight: vs. Barrie, 7:30 p.m., John Labatt Centre
Tomorrow: vs. Ottawa, 7 p.m., JLC
Monday: at Windsor, 2 p.m.