by Lisa McRitchie on 12/07/11 at 02:00 PM ET
Linus Omark is a very interesting player. When he first came to the Oilers he wasn’t nearly as young as the other NHL rookies he was playing with; Omark was a 23 year old man. Omark was also well known in Sweden for his shootouts and general play. When Omark came to the Oilers, he was an unknown and although many fans adore the feisty winger who is hard to shake when he has the puck, his defensive play has been called into question. Omark was sat in the pressbox for more games than he played with the Oilers this season before finally/eventually being sent down to the AHL.
This morning I found an interesting article on Omark. Since it was written in Omark’s native tongue Swedish, I started turning to my friends who speak both English and Swedish and lucked out that Yngve Elverhøi of Norway was able to lend me his talents. What follows is an article that doesn’t bode well for Oiler Omark fans.
I love to ask Yngve for help translating because google translate is not only awkward to read through, but you lose all of the implied meaning, social commentary, and often with a literal translation you lose the actual meaning and sentiment of what was said.
Wants to break into the NHL
(the article that’s linked to, thought it was a meaningful detail to translate as it counters some of the sentiment in the current article)
Linus Omark has been home in Norrbotten for a few weeks during his recovery from injury. He’s currently on crutches, having a cast on one of his legs.
This Monday, Omark left his childhood home in Övertorneå to meet with Luleå Hockey’s general manager Lars “Osten” Bergström at Coop Arena. “We had a casual chat. They wanted to meet and say ‘hi’. They understand my situation and I am always welcome in Luleå”, says the 24-year old who will return to Oklahoma on December 14th.
Omark was sent down from the Edmonton Oilers to their farm team the Oklahoma City Barons before the injury occurred.
Omark has previously stated to (the newspaper) Norrbottens-Kuriren that he is reluctant/refuses to play out the season in the AHL.
(My remark: “Vägrar”, which is a word closely related to its Norwegian equivalent “vegrer” has some interesting connotations in this case. In Swedish it literally means “refuses”, although I know the Norwegian word translates more closely to “reluctant”.
So, it is possible to interpret Omark as saying either - or something in between. It’s a detail, but might just be important here.)
KEEPING A LOW PROFILE
Which is where Luleå Hockey comes into the picture.
“I wanted to take the opportunity to meet with him. We had a chat and we want to listen to how he feels about his situation in the NHL and AHL. It is obvious that if he one day decides to return home we want him to know that we are interested in his services” says “Osten”. Linus Omark himself wants to keep a low profile regarding playing for Luleå
Hockey. But he is aware that there is a backup plan in place if he does not succeed in North America.
“I haven’t started contemplating it. I want to try to gain a place in the NHL first, but right now the chances are zero due to my injury” states Omark.
REMOVES THE CAST BY THE NEW YEAR
Omark is scheduled to remove his cast on December 29th and will then proceed with rehabilitation and the task of securing a spot in the NHL.
The last date Luleå can sign him is January 31st. “I have explained to him that I do not intend to call every other day to hear how he is progressing - it may appear as if we don’t want it to work out for him in North America - he knows where we stand” says “Osten”.
“If he looks at the short-term picture Luleå might be interesting, as well as the upcoming World Championships that are being held at home here in Sweden (and Finland)”.
- What are your thoughts on playing in the World Championships in Sweden and Finland this spring?
“Sure, it would be nice to play in the World Championships, but I have to get healthy and play well to have any chance of making it” says Omark.
Omark has made it very clear that he wants to play in the NHL and not the AHL and after the comments made to the media when Omark was sent to Oklahoma City last year, I’m quite confident that Omark has told Oilers’ management how he feels.
Omark does have the option to go back to Sweden, but from this article I see that he really wants to try again to get an NHL career underway before going back to Sweden to play. When Omark says this is a backup plan, I believe him.
It is possible that Omark could ask the team for a trade, but I am definitely not implying that he has or will. This may be a situation where a confident man is speaking freely with his countrymen in the media, really not thinking that those in North America would read it.
Based on the amount of talent and skill that the Oilers have on the front end, and that most of those players are generally the same size, I’ve wondered if the Oilers have been considering or trying to use Omark to acquire more help for the team’s defense.
Personally, I like having Omark on the team when he is playing well, but I also realize that teams are ever changing and that there is always a chance that anyone could be traded, with the exception of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. I don’t think they are going anywhere anytime soon.
I’ll be on the lookout for more Omark news, maybe this is nothing but an interesting Wednesday read, but maybe this is more indicative of things to come.
Many, many thanks to my favourite Swedish writer, Martin Lundén who has written up his thoughts on Omark’s meetings in Sweden. I think that Lundén is right saying that Luleå would have been foolish not to have had a meeting with Omark, and that the Swedish paper was looking to publish a story.
But we all know that Omark does not want to play in the AHL, so nothing would really surprise me. Thanks dohfOs!
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
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