Oil toss Schremp back onto farm

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

Rob Schremp flopped down his sticks and equipment bag and slumped into a chair in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix.

His body language said it all.

He was crushed.

While the rest of the Edmonton Oilers boarded a bus for the airport, and a charter flight to Calgary for tonight's game with the Flames, he spent the rest of his day trying to catch up with the Springfield Falcons and digest the fact his NHL audition is over.

At some point during Schremp's brief call-up, one game in Vancouver and just 3:12 of ice time in Phoenix Thursday night, head coach Craig MacTavish decided the 21-year-old first-round draft pick still isn't ready.

"I'll just go down and keep doing the same things I've been doing," he said, biting his tongue as best he could.

"I'm not happy about it, but all you can do it go down and keep working hard."

Schremp said all the right things, which is smart, because venting isn't going to help his cause any, but you can tell this one burned him more than any of the previous demotions.

And it's easy to see why he's upset. Every player who's ever been cut will tell you he didn't get a fair shake, but in this case it might be true. One game in Vancouver and 3:12 in Phoenix can hardly be considered a good look.

"We were protecting a lead and I just don't have the confidence in his game to have him out there in those situations yet," said MacTavish, when asked about Schremp's pine ride in Phoenix.

MacTavish admits Schremp has improved from last year, but still isn't strong enough or fast enough.

"He's not ready for the NHL yet on a full-time basis. I think that's clear. I can see him coming back up, but I think the things he needs to stay up here long term are not quick fixes, they're longer-term fixes.

"He needs the strength base and the quickness. He's got to be strong enough to battle at a standstill with players because he's not going to outskate many players."


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