SUN Hockey Pool

Bouncing back

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:56 AM ET

If Rob Schremp has the kind of brass and backbone I think he does, he'll make it difficult for the Edmonton Oilers to keep him out of the lineup for the entire 2006-07 season.

Schremp, 20, has an I'll-show-you component to his make-up, and that's a characteristic that will stand him in good stead now that he's been assigned to Wilkes-Barre of the AHL.

Simply put, expect the former London Knights star to overcome the crushing disappointment he felt at being one of seven cuts Saturday morning and to bounce back - just like he did with the Knights when he was sent back to the OHL a year ago.

Bet the farm on it.

"It sucked last year," smiles Schremp. "It's never fun getting cut, but if going down to the AHL is best, then that's what is best. You're never going to fist-pump and say, 'I'm going to the AHL, I can't wait.' "

For all his offensive talent, Schremp isn't strong enough or well-rounded enough to play in the NHL right now. Like it or not, Craig MacTavish and his coaching staff made exactly the right call.

Schremp, who won the OHL scoring title last season with 57-88-145, didn't sulk a year ago and he insisted before the Oilers flew home to Edmonton that he isn't about to let Saturday's assignment discourage him, either.

"It's not the end of the world," said Schremp, who'll be watched closely by the Oilers in Wilkes-Barre. "It just means you have to work on some things and it's going to take a little longer."

Last season, Schremp had no chance of being recalled outside of being deemed an emergency call-up. This season, he can be summoned at any time. I'd say the over-under is 30 games.

FROM WHERE I SIT

Alexei Mikhnov isn't ready for prime time yet, but he's a lot further along the learning curve than anybody expected and he'll play for this team at some point this season ... Brad Winchester will survive today's final three roster cuts because GM Kevin Lowe doesn't want to risk losing him on waivers by assigning him to the minors, but he did next-to-nothing in six pre-season appearances and it's only a matter of time until he's traded or waived if he doesn't show MacTavish something ... Jan Hejda locked up the seventh job on the blue-line with his performance in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Canucks, which was very good outside of a bungled play on Vancouver's 2-2 goal ... if the Oilers had 24 roster spots instead of 23, Mathieu Roy, who'll come up short behind Ladislav Smid and Hejda to make the team, would get it ... Patrick Thoresen, the surprise of camp, is a dead ringer for former Oiler Janne Niinimaa ... Raffi Torres will be good for 28 goals and 100 PIM this season ... one look at opening day rosters will only emphasize that the traditional tough guy is a dying breed in the NHL and that Oilers fans will miss Georges Laraque more in the community than on the ice.

AROUND THE RINK

Pre-season is obviously a time for the NHL's off-ice officials to sharpen up. One look at Saturday's score sheet from Vancouver proves that. Among many mistakes, the sheet listed the Oilers with just two giveaways and the Canucks with three, for a total of five. There were that many on any given shift ... Don't be surprised if the Oilers send the NHL a video clip of a second-period altercation involving Marc-Andre Bergeron and Ladislav Nagy at Glendale Arena in Phoenix. Bergeron was gouged during a pileup ... Fernando Pisani's right knee is what kept him out of action Saturday, but he expects it to be ready for the season opener.


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