Getting 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.)