Schremp fuelling uncivil war

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

Rob Schremp was cutting his hockey sticks down to size yesterday, symbolizing what he's going to do to David Bolland when the Canadian and U.S. world junior teams meet Dec. 31 in Vancouver.

The chatterbox Schremp, who was named to the U.S. team for the second straight year Monday, scoffed at the suggestion soft-spoken Bolland was willing to trade verbal jabs with him when the London Knights teammates become instant international enemies at the end of the year.

"I'm not worried about it. David's not a good talker on or off the ice," Schremp said. "I'll have five chirps in before he gets one chirp out of his mouth. It'll be no contest."

The 19-year-old Fulton, N.Y., native could have plenty of ammunition by the time they go head-to-head. Schremp's U.S. squad is one of the tournament favourites and since he doesn't have to leave London till Dec. 18, there's a strong chance he'll arrive in Vancouver ahead of Bolland atop the OHL scoring race.

Bolland plays tonight in Kitchener and Friday against Saginaw, but leaves for Canada's training camp Sunday. Schremp, who has been neck-and-neck with his buddy for the scoring crown, will play three more games with the Knights while Bolland slugs it out for a Canadian roster spot.

"I don't know if it's better to have a tryout like the Canadians or name the team like we do," Schremp said. "We (the U.S. team) skated together in a summer evaluation camp and I was awful because we were playing games and I hadn't played in three months.

"We'll have a week to get ready and work on chemistry while the Canadians are able to put guys together during their tryout. But being a professional means being able to go out with anybody at any time and play well. When you're in the NHL, you end up playing with everybody, so you better come up with some chemistry in a hurry."

Last year's world junior tournament in Grand Forks, N.D., turned into a major disappointment for Schremp and the Americans. The host country didn't win a medal and the Knights star often found himself nailed to the bench in closely contested games.

"I remember it well -- this year, I want to be out there on the power play, the penalty kill, all the important situations," he said. "A gold medal would be incredible. We had to watch Canada win it in our homeland. We weren't prepared as well as we should've been. (But U.S. head coach) Walt Kyle has us ready this year. There was something missing last year. But this time, we know we have a team capable of winning. We're all friends and we're excited to see what we can accomplish."

His Knights, who are currently back on top in the OHL standings with Peterborough one point back and a game in hand, are facing the Rangers for the first time this season.

It's the final time the current members of London's top-ranked, five-forward power play will be on the ice at the same time until the New Year. Forward Sergei Kostitsyn, a Belarus native, leaves tomorrow for the world junior B pool championships in Minsk.

"It's a credit to our team three of the five on the power play will play at the international level this year," Schremp said. "We aren't just representing our countries, we're representing the London Knights. It shows how well we're prepared to play by our coaching staff."

KNIGHTWATCH

Tonight: at Kitchener, 7 p.m.

Friday: vs. Saginaw, 7:30 p.m. at the John Labatt Centre. It's Teddy Bear Toss night and the Knights are urging Londoners to improve its league record of 6,966 stuffed toys from last year.


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