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The Schremp is here

Edmonton prospect brings attitude, skill and baggage as Penguins open eighth AHL season tonight.

Penguins’ center Rob Schremp is known for his attitude but the Edmonton Oilers’ top prospect says his past actions have been greatly exaggerated.

Times leader staff photo/pete g. wilcox

WILKES-BARRE TWP. – By now, Rob Schremp is well aware he has an attitude problem.

How could he not be?

Wherever Schremp has gone the only thing that’s been talked about more than his talent is his temperament.

• Schremp is a hot dog who loves to showboat.

• Schremp used a lot of four-letter words during his predraft interview with the Edmonton Oilers.

• Schremp can be confrontational when it comes to dealing with the media.

• Schremp is cocky and abrasive when dealing with pretty much everyone.

• Schremp is high maintenance.

Schremp, the top prospect in the Edmonton Oilers’ organization, doesn’t deny the charges. He’d prefer not to dignify them.

But, according to the 5-foot-11, 200-pound center, most of what’s been said about him has been vastly exaggerated.

“Not really,” Schremp joked when asked if his bad reputation was well-deserved. “I only (say outrageous things) when I get pissed off.”

In all seriousness, Schremp said that you could probably trace his perception problem to the 2003-04 season when he asked for and received a trade from the Mississagua Ice Dogs.

Schremp believes his trade demand rubbed some people the wrong way and he’s been paying for it ever since.

“That started it all,” he said. “I asked for a trade and got a trade. People thought I was … whatever. They started talking bad about me in the news and stuff like that. It’s not a big deal. I don’t really care. I’ve got good friends, like (Penguins teammate) Tim Sestito, and guys like that, that support me. I don’t care what those people say.”

What’s more, Schremp gets good reviews from his former teammates as well.

“If you have 20 teammates who say they love you and you’re a great guy but five media people who say you’re (a jerk), I don’t care,” Schremp said. “I mean, my teammates respect me and care, that’s what matters.”

Schremp would prefer to let his talent do the talking.

And, what a story it tells.

In 247 Ontario Hockey League games, Schremp netted 134 goals, assisted on 230 and scored 364 points.

That averages out to about 1.5 points per game.

Last season he had a career year with 57 goals and 145 points in 57 games.

Since breaking on the scene with Mississagua in 2002, Schremp has wowed both fans and scouts.

His vision and hockey sense are world class, allowing him to set up teammates in traffic. And, on the rare occasions when Schremp can’t feather a pass to one of his wingers, he has a powerful slap shot and a deadly accurate wrist shot.

“Pretty good passer,” said Penguins head coach Todd Richards when asked his first impressions of Schremp. “Some great skill. He sees the ice.”

“He looks good out there,” said Penguins center Maxime Talbot. “He looks really good out there.”

Outstanding AHL rookies Up next

Unless Edmonton recalls him to the NHL, Penguins’ center Rob Schremp has to be considered one of the top candidates to win this year’s Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie. Here’s a look at the last five forwards who won it and the kind of numbers it takes to win the award.

Yr Player Team GP G A Pts
’01 Ryan Kraft KEN 77 38 50 88
’02 Tyler Arnason NOR 60 26 30 56
’03 Darren Haydar MIL 75 29 46 75
’05 Rene Bourque NOR 78 33 27 60
’06 Patrick O’Sullivan HOU 78 47 46 93

Manitoba Moose (0-0-0-0) at Penguins (0-0-0-0)

When: 7:05 p.m., today

Where: Wachovia Arena

On the air: TV—Adelphia 63, Service Electric 90, WNEPDT 16-2. Radio–WQFM 92.1 and 100.5.

On the Web: www.b2livetv.com.

Last meeting: Penguins 3, Manitoba 2 OT (Feb. 25, 2006).

Penguins vs. Manitoba (last season): Series tied 2-2.

Scouting the Moose: Manitoba has 29 players on its roster, although two are injured. Goalie Drew MacIntyre (8-4-0, 2.91 GAA), who was a backup in Grand Rapids last season, gets the start. The Moose return leading scorer Jesse Schultz (37-30-67) and power forward Lee Goren (22-19-41) up front.

Keep an eye on: For the Penguins – highly-touted prospect Rob Schremp makes his pro debut tonight. For the Moose – defenseman Patrick Coulombe was one of the QMJHL’s top offensive defensemen, scoring 23 goals and 77 points last year.

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