Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Lisa McRitchie on 08/26/11 at 10:54 AM ET
Excellent Swedish Oilers fan and hockey blogger Martin Lundén has found another Linus Omark summer interview. Omark is known for his confidence and honesty despite the fact that most of what we learn from the Swede with finesse is from Swedish media.
Omark: Obviously I’m happy I’ve got to play my first NHL-game and played rather good from time to time and showed I have the capacity to play in this league. Sure, it’s been a pretty big change in life to first move from Sweden to Russia onward to the NHL. Now, it is the first time I live alone as I had Harju with me when I played in Russia. On the ice the difference is the smaller rinks and the fact you don’t have the same amount of time to do stuff. But apart from that the biggest difference is to live outside the rink…
Q: Where your goal is..?
Omark: I want a regular spot in the Edmonton Oilers. Then it’s up to me to prove I’m worthy of it.
Omark has a difficult time comparing the AHL and the Swedish Elite League (SEL) but feels that there is still a large amount of talent at the AHL level since several SEL players come from the AHL. Because it is a different style of hockey, it is completely reasonable to believe that some players are better suited for the SEL or the North American hockey, no matter where they were born or raised. Some European players try to make the switch but it is a long and difficult road.
It is not at all shocking that Omark says that life outside of the arena is the biggest difference he sees. Magnus Pääjärvi has stated that he had to get used to the food, but the culture and fashion differences would also be large not to mention the language. From what I have been told by Swedish prospects and hockey fans, learning English in Sweden is common, but it is certainly another thing to completely immerse yourself in the language and culture without many Swedish speaking people around you. While in Oklahoma City, Omark was the lone Swede. With his promotion to the Edmonton Oilers, Omark was able to find some comfort in the company of Pääjärvi and even Nikolai Khabibulin.
Omark has the skills and the talent; it will be interesting to see where the organization sees him in their future plans. As I read various posts and stories as well as talk to other Oilers’ fans, I learn that a number of fans don’t see Omark fitting in long term and are not sold on the winger. After less than a year with the team and several years of anticipation, I hope that fans can give Omark another year. Look at the rope so many gave Gagner!
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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