Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rob Schremp: Rock-Solid

**While I work on my next entry, take a listen to Su Ring's CCPT Hockey show on BlogTalkRadio from last Sunday. It was all about training camps and I called in at about the 10 minute mark to discuss the youngsters. Mind you this was BEFORE Nino signed his contract - which I predicted (because it was a no-brainer.)

Rob Schremp was still full of energy even after the on ice session on Tuesday. I found him in the tunnel playing a spirited game of ping-pong with Kyle Okposo. He would run in place every time Kyle had to go to the staircase to retrieve the ball. Kyle would smile and Rob would yap at him. I waited against the wall for them to finish their game. I had no idea how long a ping-pong game should take.

“Hey! It’s Dorothy! Look at those shoes!!” Rob caught a glimpse of my bright red Mary-Janes out of the corner of his eye.

I didn’t know whether I should hide or say thank you. I knew I couldn’t keep his attention for very long. He was hungry. And you don’t come between Rob Schremp and lunch. No, that’s dangerous.

“Scrimmage or Golf outing, what do you want to talk about?” I asked him speaking as quickly as possible.

“Scrimmage. Scrimmage.” Great, I had golf questions in my head.

“So, what are you looking forward to most about Saturday? Playing against the new guys?” (Geeze Dee. That was the best you could do?)

“With training camp it’s more about soliciting a spot and making sure you’re better than the next guy and the guys coming up. So it’s competing against your teammates but at the same time the prospects come up and you have to show them what it takes to play at this level. It’s fun to be challenged like that by younger guys. I am getting a little older now,” and he chuckled, “and they’re here to take spots. It’s a challenge.”

The split squad games were still in the working stage on Tuesday because when I asked both Rob Schremp and Rick DiPietro if they knew where they were going they told me they had no idea. But that didn’t matter to Rob.

“We’re all just kind of eager to just get out and have a game-like atmosphere. This is a lot of practice to have before a game. With the China stuff not coming through, everything is pushed back now. Usually, by now you’re getting ready to play a game. We’re all itching. We want to play. Practice is only so much fun.”

With camp being on Long Island, I again asked if it was hindering the development of team chemistry. “I don’t know. I kind of like this. I’ve never done a camp like this, or when they’ve gone elsewhere. But I feel like with the setting and the new room and the new additions to our team, I feel like we’re setting a base for ourselves being here. The season’s coming up, and you build as a team. We’re home doing it and you’re in your own bed. We’re Long Island and we’re getting ready. You get back into the routine of the season. You’re here and you can focus.”

Rob is visibly thinner from last season so I asked him how his summer training went. “I just dieted well. I did it last year too. Last summer I had a really good year workout wise. It was probably a big factor in why I made the NHL last year, it was how I did my off-ice training. This year was no different. I went back to the same trainer and routine. I was a little more strict and disciplined with it, so I got the results I felt I needed. I had to do it with my knee as well. I had to do whatever it took to get into shape. I had to get my body ready for it. Now I have to be rock-solid for my knee, because I only had the surgery six months ago. It has to be ready, and I feel like it is.”

The way I have seen him skate these last few days, he looks like he has healed just fine. But there was something missing.

“It sucked having a six months summer because we didn’t make the playoffs, but from my perspective, it was probably the best thing I could have had. It would have been tough to rush back.”

And knowing Schremp, he probably would have tried. Better he has come to Uniondale in great shape and ready to go.

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