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Leap of faith in Schremp pays off for Isles

Wednesday, 01.13.2010 / 12:18 PM / Player Profiles

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- Belief.

That's all Rob Schremp has ever asked for since he first appeared in an NHL game with the Edmonton Oilers during the 2006-07 season, the only game he played at the sport's top level during that campaign.

The following season didn't go any differently. Schremp, a first-round draft choice in 2004, appeared in just two games for the Oilers and spent the majority of that campaign with Springfield in the American Hockey League.

He called Springfield home again in 2008-09, although he did have 3 assists in the four games he appeared in for Edmonton. Still, nobody believed he could excel -- at least at that point -- in the NHL.

And after spending this past training camp with the Oilers, the franchise gave up on him. It came to the conclusion that the 57 goals he scored in his final season of junior hockey with the London Knights would never translate into such success for the Oilers. So, on Sept. 29, 2009, they cut him loose.

It didn't take very long for Schremp to find a new home.

The New York Islanders immediately jumped on Schremp. They loved his hands. They loved his vision. And they loved what he could possibly do for them.

"I had confidence in my game," Schremp said after scoring two goals in the Isles' 6-0 win Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings. "I know what I'm capable of. It's just a matter of getting confidence and building a trust and respect from guys on the team and the coaches to get on the ice and do the stuff that I can do."

Truth be told, it took some time for everyone on Long Island to believe.

Schremp spent the majority of the first half of the season watching games from the press box. But injuries and Scott Gordon's desire to shake up his offense provided Schremp with an opportunity, and the Syracuse, N.Y., native is making the most of it -- at both ends of the ice.

Just last Wednesday, Schremp scored one of the most unbelievable goals one will ever see during a 3-2 win at Colorado. After Craig Anderson made an initial save, Schremp grabbed the rebound with his hand and just as it was reaching chest level, he swung his stick like a baseball bat and swatted it into the net. It required a video review as officials needed to really believe what they just saw.

"I coached against him enough in Providence (AHL) to know," Gordon said. "The talent was there, you just didn't know if he was going to put together a complete game. Now when he makes a mistake, he's telling me when he comes back to the bench what he should have done. Players coaching themselves is what you want. If you get 20 players who know when they make a mistake and they're not repeating them, you know you're going to have success."

Schremp wasn't done contributing on the Isles' three-game road trip, however, as he collected a pair of assists in Saturday's 5-4 shootout win at Phoenix.

"The talent was there, you just didn't know if he was going to put together a complete game. Now when he makes a mistake, he's telling me when he comes back to the bench what he should have done. Players coaching themselves is what you want." -- New York Islanders coach Scott Gordon on Rob Schremp

And in the Isles' first game back home, he scored twice and was a plus-2 against the defending Western Conference champs.

Indeed, these days on Long Island, Schremp has everyone believing.

"He knows I'm a believer in him," Gordon said. "I think he's made a believer out of his teammates. It's probably the first time as a pro that he's had that confidence from everyone else outside of him. He's always had confidence in his abilities, but making believers out of his coaches and his teammates is a big step. He's got everything to go in that direction."

Now, it's up to Schremp to keep it going.

He'll get his next chance on Saturday night, when the Islanders continue their playoff push against the Buffalo Sabres at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"I wanted it to be this way. This is what I've always wanted and what I thought about in the minors -- how much I wanted to be here and do what it takes to be here. I'm just happy that (Isles GM) Garth (Snow) gave me an opportunity in October to pick me up."

Contact Brian Compton at: bcompton@nhl.com
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