Thursday, September 24, 2009

Last Chances

When the Oilers face the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, Robbie Schremp and Jordan Eberle will skate on the second line with Dustin Penner.

After a strong pre-season (and in particular a strong performance in a game given by the referee to the Calgary Flames), Dustin Penner has very likely punched his ticket to be on one of the Oilers' top six lines.

Neither Robbie Schremp nor Jordan Eberle have done that, realistically.

Eberle has certainly played strongly. He's set up magnificent scoring opportunities, and earned some opportunities of his own.

His problem is that he has yet to finish on any of them, suggesting that he may not be quite ready for prime time just yet -- but watch out when he is!

Even with this being the case, he may have earned a spot to at least stay with the team, but the playing time in Regina would likely benefit him much more, as opposed to sitting in the press box waiting for Ales Hemsky or Patrick O'Sullivan to get hurt.

This being said, tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning will be Joran Eberle's last chance to show Pat Quinn and Tom Renney that he deserves to stay with the team, but only for this season. He'll get another chance next year.

Likely no so for Robbie Schremp. Schremp has been trying and failing to make the Oilers for six years now, and in recent seasons his case has seemed utterly futile -- despite being given good opportunities by the coaching staff, Schremp has been largely invisible all through this year's training camp.

He seemed to have turned a corner in four games with the Oilers last season, posting three assists in that stretch, but that promise seems like it has yet to return. If Schremp can't post a strong performance in Winnipeg tonight the time has certainly come to cut him loose.

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