His Story, And Sticking To It By: Paul Shaheen - U.S. Hockey News Senior Writer U.S. Hockey News Exclusive To many people's way of thinking, NHL prospect Robbie Schremp has made some serious miscalculations. But in his opinion, he's merely been misunderstood. "It drives me nuts when people say I wanted out of Mississauga because the team wasn't good enough," says Schremp, the 6-0/195 pound forward and Fulton, New York native who, in a story that earned headlines on both sides of the border earlier last fall (USHN Sept 29, Oct 1, Oct 9, Oct 21) , forced the Ice Dogs to trade him in October after having spent the entire season there in 2002-03. "I would never leave my team just because they weren't competitive. Besides, look what they (the Ice Dogs) did this year, they went all the way to the OHL finals." Though Schremp's desire to leave Mississauga was painted primarily as a conflict between himself and new head coach Greg Gilbert-who'd replaced Steve Ludzik after the team had been purchased by new owner Mario Forgione last summer-Schremp says that was hardly the case. "Ludzik and Gilbert were two of the best coaches I've ever had," Schremp insists, "the problem was really the new ownership. Forgione also owned the Milton Merchants, which is where my brother Tyler played, and he (Forgione) made a lot of broken promises, so after he bought Mississauga, I had the sense the same thing was happening. Players didn't have sticks and such, and right before the beginning of training camp this year, we didn't even have a trainer. Things just didn't seem organized," Schremp continues, "so I called my agent. I was worried because this was my draft year, and he (Chicago based Scott Norton) said I might be able to progress better somewhere else." Schremp then spent two weeks with the US NTDP while the Ice Dogs worked out a trade, one that eventually sent him to the London Knights, who with a cast of stars a kilometer long-Schremp included, went 53-11-2-2 and made it to the OHL's Western Conference Finals before falling to Guelph in seven games. Mississauga went 36-21-7 and skated to the OHL championship series before bowing to the same Guelph Storm in four straight. So after all this, here sits Schremp-days away from attending the NHL scouting combine in Toronto and only 30 days from the NHL Draft-working out aggressively off the ice while hoping what he did on it, in the eyes of NHL scouts, will supersede the headlines that preceded him. "I know I got some negative publicity over what happened," Schremp admits, "and I remember worrying about it somewhat at the time, but I made my decision, and when you make a decision, you have to stick by it." Certainly Schremp's talents are unquestioned. He was the OHL's Rookie of the Year in 2003 after scoring 26 goals and 74 points, only seven shy of teammate and fellow American Patrick O'Sullivan. This year, Schremp did even better: 30 goals and 75 points in 63 games. "Skill-wise, I think I'm ready for the NHL," thinks Schremp, "but I just need to get stronger." Indeed Schremp's assets are many: speed, skill, shooting and passing. But he knows with huge NHL defenseman like Ottawa's 6-9/225 pound Zdeno Chara lurking around, there's a need to bulk up. "I need more muscle," Schremp says, "that will help me, and improve my defensive game." As for his schooling, Schremp claims that's another area that hasn't been reported in the most accurate light. While Red Line wrote in October that Schremp viewed education as merely an 'inconvenience,' he insists a foul-up by his school in Mississauga didn't help matters, and cost him a full semester of HS credits. "When my season ended last year, I went home (to New York) and was suppose to have received coursework to do while back in the states. It never came. So when I got back to Mississauga earlier this year, I found out I didn't have any credits from the second half of last year. It would have taken me another year or so to finish school, so I opted for correspondence study to get my GED instead." Schremp says he'll have his GED completed by early summer. While Schremp was disappointed not to have been part of Team USA's gold medal performance at the World Juniors, he insists he'd never turn his back on another opportunity to represent his country. And as for what lies ahead, Schremp's encouraged on several fronts, especially the new style of play that's swept the Stanley Cup playoffs this year. What with Calgary and Tampa Bay both succeeding with a more up-tempo style of play (read: no TRAP!), he believes that's the type of environment in which he could flourish. "Trap hockey is the worst hockey you can play," Schremp adds, "yes, the trap works, but for a whole game? Who would want to pay money to watch that?" So where will Schremp be taken? Though he'll easily be chosen by the middle of the first round, he says he's not focusing on how high he'll go. "At this point, it's sort of beyond my control. Look at my friend Dustin Brown. He was taken last year at 13th and he made it (in Los Angeles). It's really not a matter of how high you go, but rather where you go." And should he track to the NHL with the degree of success he hopes, any misunderstandings will be long forgotten.