by Lisa McRitchie on 02/14/12 at 03:30 AM ET
Ales Hemsky has not always been the most talked about Oiler when it comes to trade rumours. No, that honour was once held by Linus Omark. Especially when Omark was sent to the AHL Oklahoma City Barons before he could play his final 4 NHL games that would require him to pass through waivers to move up and down from the farm team.
Omark played only 5 games with the Oilers this season, and sat even longer in the pressbox before the Oilers sent the feisty winger to OKC. This time around, Omark’s departure was with far less fanfare than the previous season. “I can be the guy, it’s maybe not the right thing to say when you’re mad, but I’ve forgotten everything about what I’ve said in the past.” Omark said of what he has said in the past. What he meant was that he can be the guy who can say what is on his mind in the heat of the moment. But at the end of the day Omark admits “I like the Oilers’ club and of course I want to play in the NHL.”
Unfortunately Omark didn’t play many games in the AHL before succumbing to the Oilers’ injury bug and breaking his ankle. Omark would require surgery and nearly three months off before he could play another game, but what a game it was. After scoring 7 points in 7 games before the injury, Omark came back to earn a goal and an assist against the Abbotsford Heat in Calgary. Omark has since scored another goal in the final AHL battle of Alberta, keeping on his point per game pace.
“The ankle is good.” Omark said Thursday night following his first game back. “It doesn’t hurt anymore, but you’re not brave enough going into games, it’s been in a cast for eight weeks. It’s going to take time, but I feel better than before. I feel good on the ice; it’s no problem at all, the skating.”
Playing again was the first goal, but after that Omark certainly has other ambitions. “I want to take one game at a time; I don’t want to rush anything. Of course I want to be back in the NHL, that’s my goal. I’m going to work hard and get a couple of games in and see after that what happens.”
While recovering in Sweden, Omark met with Swedish Elite League clubs, but the news was always the same, “I was to be in the NHL.”
To do that, Omark is going to have to prove that he is defencively responsible and able to remain a consistent contributor in the AHL before he will have a chance to prove the same in the NHL. “I have to play good and it’s not only my decision. So we will see what happens. I have to work hard down here and I’ll get a chance up there” Omark explained. He gets it.
But, Omark may not have received much feedback from the Oilers lately. “I haven’t’ actually talked with the Oilers” Omark exclaimed. “I have a group of guys here with the staff, and I’m working with them.” Surely Omark means that he hadn’t received much feedback while he was out with his injury, but what would there have been to say besides I’m still healing. Now that Omark is back on skates and playing in games, the lines of communication between the Barons and the Oilers will remain open and constant.
There is the possibility that Magnus Paajarvi will return to the Barons, and perhaps Anton Lander will also be sent to play with the Barons before the end of the season. But Omark knows that anything can happen. “I hope he stays up there, and does good” Omark said of Paajarvi.
Anything is possible; Omark may still be involved in a trade but the Oilers still need talented forwards and puck moving defencemen. If the Oilers decide to trade a player like Omark, they will need to ensure that they are getting NHL ready players. In the meantime, this fan favourite is content to play on with the league leading Oklahoma City Barons and prepare for what will hopefully be a long playoff run.
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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.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
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