Linus Omark blames 'politics' for his demotion from Edmonton Oilers to AHL

linusomarksweden.jpgGetting cut from an NHL roster must be like being chosen last in a pickup game of basketball or losing in some reality show, although injuries and good minor league play can change things in ways that video-taped testimonials cannot.

By that analogy, Edmonton Oilers prospect Linus* Omark is the busty reality show diva who throws drinks in people’s faces and cheats on her boyfriend. (Or something like that). The Swedish player isn’t very happy about the team’s decision to demote him to the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, as you can see from this story in the Edmonton Journal.

Edmonton Oilers winger Linus Omark has the hands to stickhandle around all manner of mops in a broom closet, but he fired off a shot in the tight quarters of a media mob Monday morning when asked about his impressions of his first NHL training camp.

“It is a little different. There is a lot of politics here,” said the Swede, who didn’t like being one of the Edmonton Oilers’ last eight cuts on Monday.

Is the Oilers organization the best place for Omark at this time in his career?

“No comment,” said the 23-year-old forward, who is in the right place at the wrong time because the Oilers are in a major rebuilding process but want another Swedish player, Magnus Paajarvi, and two hotshot juniors, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, to play in their top nine.

While Oilers coach Tom Renney is impressed by Omark’s skill and doesn’t have a problem with the Swede speaking his mind, Renney says that the forward needs to improve as a team player and get used to the North American game.

“It’s a 200-by 85-foot rink and you sometimes have to give it up to get it back. You can’t dangle every inch of the ice. That’s the thing he has to understand at the NHL level, but he’s an exciting guy,” said Renney.

“He will play in the NHL.”

So while the Oilers are leading a youth movement, Omark’s NHL career is on pause and he isn’t very happy about it. When you’re rebuilding a roster, sometimes you have to make tough choices and hurt some feelings. We’ll see if Edmonton is making the right choices beginning this week.

* – Please tell me an Oilers blogger has given him a nickname based on Linus from Peanuts? Here’s my submission: “The Security Blanket.” (Although I admit that would work a lot better if he was a smothering, shutdown defenseman.)

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    Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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    For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

    They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

    • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
    • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
    • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

    Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

    Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

    Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

    Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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    The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

    (Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

    Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

    You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

    It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

    Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

    Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

    Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

    Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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    If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

    You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

    The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

    For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

    (Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

    The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

    Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

    Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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    It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

    The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

    The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

    One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.