Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hockey Santa

Before Rob Schremp was recalled briefly, many questioned his ability to impact an NHL game due to the fact that at that time he had a single goal in 18 AHL games. However I countered with the fact that his exceptional passing ability would translate into his linemates getting broken out of goal slumps.

I had Sam Gagner penciled in as the guy that Schremp would get going offensively. Unfortunately Gagner suffered a mild concussion very early in Schremp's first game with the big club this season. Enter Marc Pouliot. The same Pouliot that Schremp fed time and time again in Springfield last year for goals. A renowned playmaker, Pouliot played the shooting role last year with Schremp playing the playmaker/passer role.

Schremp got a chance to play with Pouliot later on in that game and bang, playmaker to shooter, Pouliot scored. A guy that had a single goal in 23 games at that point, Pouliot suddenly doubled his goal production. After that, a new Pouliot emerged, a much more confident Pouliot, the same Pouliot that I saw in Springfield last year, a guy that liked to put the puck on net and a guy that can pot some goals.

The next game, Schremp makes a heady play to get the puck down low to a wide open Cogliano, and Cogliano puts the puck on Pouliot's stick in the slot with a superb feed, and bang, and suddenly he has 3 goals.

Prior to Schremp's arrival, Pouliot had 1-3-4 in 23 games, during Schremp's stay he was 2-0-2 in 4gp. and just as importantly, his confidence remained after Schremp departed for the AHL. Since Schremp's arrival, he has gone for 4-1-5 in 9 games. More than doubling his point production, scoring at nearly a 0.5 goals/game mark, and playing the most confident hockey of his young NHL career.

This IMO is not a coincidence. Confidence, when you have someone looking to help you score, it makes the game a hell of a lot easier. If you don't think that there was a difference in his confidence level, just look at the picture on the top of this post. Then for him to get the monkey off his back 2 games in a row? That set him up for success. The Rob Schremp effect, making those around him better with unselfish play and beautiful gift passes. Some may call him the Hockey Jesus, IMO he should just be called the Hockey Santa.

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