SUN Hockey Pool

Schremp fishing

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

Robert Nilsson - maybe.

Rob Schremp - doubtful.

That appears to be the chances of each player being called up by the Edmonton Oilers before the season is over.

By bringing Kyle Brodziak up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL this week, some fans moaned over not seeing Schremp get the call.

But to Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish it's a pretty cut and dried decision.

"(Schremp) comes with the notoriety, but the game is not there yet," said MacTavish. "For him, the best thing is to keep him down there - and his play has been better as of late. The best thing for his development is to stay down there."

JUST 13 GOALS

The club's second choice (25th overall) in the 2004 NHL draft, Schremp has just 13 goals in 53 games in his first season in the AHL.

Brodziak - a third-year pro - left the AHL with 21 goals and 46 points in 49 games.

As for Nilsson, he has put up six assists in three games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton since being moved in the Ryan Smyth deal.

"(Nilsson) is a guy we would like to see at some point, but in light of the year that Kyle has had, he was the guy that was most deserving of the opportunity," said MacTavish.

"Obviously Robert has played very well since he has been there.

"He has been very prolific.

"It would have been a little bit of an injustice not to have Kyle up here based on how he has played.

"Robert is a guy we want to get a look at, albeit on an emergency basis."

How to keep them caring

Particularly conscious of his players' mental well-being with the playoffs out of reach and still a month of the regular season remaining, MacTavish is trying to keep life as upbeat as possible.

"The last thing I want is to create an environment where players dread coming to the rink because we have got to put the work in and have some energy," said the coach after yesterday's practice at Millennium Place.

SKATING ... FOR WHAT?

"Everybody is - rightfully so - unsure of how they should behave at the rink.

"We practised better today. We are very much a team that plays how we practise."

MacTavish sat down with his players before playing Calgary last Saturday and tried to set some objectives.

"The thing that will eat a team up in this situation is selfishness," continued MacTavish.

"We talked about going overboard in terms of proving to everybody that you are going to be a team player and you are not going to try to save yourself.

"The minute players try to start saving themselves, collectively everybody goes down the toilet."

MacTavish is certainly aware of life for the youngsters on the squad.

"It is like walking into a minefield when you walk into an NHL dressing room at this stage of the year in the situation we are in," he remarked.

"You don't know where you are going to step on the mine. We have just got to make sure that they have to put the work in first and develop the good habits."


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