SUN Hockey Pool

Former London 'mates go head-to-head

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:17 PM ET

EDMONTON -- Dan Syvret and Rob Schremp might as well have had a big red 'X' painted on their blue jerseys last night.

The Edmonton Oilers prospects had a feeling Flames hopeful Brandon Prust would be looking to deliver a blow to either one, or both, of his former London Knights teammates if given the opportunity.

"Prustie will be looking to hit one of us," said Schremp with a grin before last night's pre-season opener between the Oilers and Calgary Flames at Rexall Place. "He gets in the corners, mucks it out a bit."

The trio won an OHL championship and Memorial Cup together during a dominant year with the Knights last season. You learn a lot about your teammates during a lengthy run through the playoffs but the bond can be quickly forgotten once the stakes change and an NHL roster spot is on the line. Syvret is well aware d-men like himself are Prust's favourite targets for big hits.

"I know how he's played," said Syvret. "Playing with someone for so long you learn to know what their tendencies are. He's definitely a physical, hard-nosed player and I'm going to have to watch out going back for loose pucks.

"It'll definitely be a battle -- a battle within a battle."

For the record, Prust admitted their kinship was on hold for at least a night and wouldn't hesitate to lower the boom.

"All three of us are trying to make a spot and make a name for ourselves," said a focused Prust after the morning skate, an ice pack on his left shoulder. "It's going to be a war, it's going to be a battle. Once you're on the ice, there's no friends out there."

Schremp, who finished third on the Knights in scoring and fourth in the OHL with a career-high 41 goals and 90 points last season, has been impressive so far in camp.

Despite a bad reputation, the centre has been working hard, one of the first to step out on the ice and the last to come off. Yesterday, Schremp took a little extra time to blast some pucks at a helpless water bottle glowing through the mesh above the net's crossbar. He hit it more often than not, bouncing it rhythmically until he ran out of pucks and was ultimately told to clear the ice by a coach.

Schremp, 19, would love to avoid a return to the junior ranks this season but the Oilers would likely have to make a trade in order to keep the young prospect with the team.


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