• The Great Pumpkin Does Not Come

    by  • November 1, 2011 • Hockey • 9 Comments

    Asiaoil in Lowetide’s thread on Linus Omark getting demoted:

    It all goes back to that shootout against PITT where Omark pulled his cutsie Youtube move after Eberle and Hemsky burned Johnson easily with simple shots upstairs. Add on defensive failings in subsequent games and the presence of multiple better options on the wing – and he’s gone – doubt he ever returns.

    I thought it was worth looking at Omark’s last three games before he was exiled to the press box. The reader will recall that Omark got sent to the press box after the Oilers’ win against Pittsburgh, returned for four games and was then sent upstairs again when Sam Gagner was healthy. It’s the line about defensive failing that caught me.

    As it so happens, in Omark’s last three games before being benched again, the Oilers were defending one goal leads towards the end of the game. I thought it’d be interesting to see what Tom Renney thought, as expressed by how he was doling out the ice time while the Oilers tried to hold the lead.

    In the 2-1 loss against Calgary, it looked like this (Omark’s at the top):

    CGYEDM

    The penalties mess it up a bit but the coaches were clearly fine with Omark being out there. The Oilers only had eleven forwards dressed for the game – Eager was clearly the odd man out, with MPS looking like someone who Renney would prefer not to have out there either, until the Oilers were a goal down at least.

    The next game, against Minnesota, was the infamous Heatley goal with a second left game.

    MINEDM

    Pretty obvious who the coach didn’t want out there defending the lead: RNH/Hall/Eberle. Omark, whatever his defensive failings might be, kept getting thrown over the boards.

    I screwed up putting the chart together from the Nashville game but, again, Renney was fine running Omark out there in a one goal game – the fourth line was the line that got benched in that one.

    This isn’t to say that Omark doesn’t have defensive problems – maybe AO has sussed some stuff out but the coach didn’t seem to be too bothered by it – if Omark was in the lineup, he was out there for the last fifteen minutes. It’s awfully curious to see a guy who was clearly one of the coach’s top nine guys to defend a lead in the last three games get himself sent up to the press box for five games and then disappear to the minors.

    Omark had the bad luck to come out at the start of a winning street but hockey’s an awfully rough game. If every guy on the team was named Johnson and nobody had a pedigree or managerial investment of credibility in the mix, I kind of suspect he’d get more of a shot than he has in Edmonton. It’s just baffling when the coach’s decision (“Play Omark when it matters”) is so at odds with whether or not Omark gets dressed or scratched or sent to Oklahoma City.

    I figure there’s no way Omark’s going to be in Edmonton in the long term – it just doesn’t seem to me that he’s going to be able to crack the logjam, given that he brings little name value to the table and that nobody in Edmonton has any professional investment in him. I suspect he’d look pretty good on a team that has lots of centres but lacks for wingers though.

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    9 Responses to The Great Pumpkin Does Not Come

    1. Doogie2K
      November 1, 2011 at

      I’ll start the Omark for Michalek thread on HF.

    2. November 1, 2011 at

      Ville Leino was a whisker away from disappearing from North America forever and ending up back in the SM Liga or either of Omark’s old leagues. Now he sits atop a 27M contract. I doubt Omark, who has every bit as much ability, will be as fortunate. Luck matters in this stupid world.

      Surely Omark’s a better player than Kopecky or Skille or Kennedy, but he has the distinct disadvantage of having never played for a team which employed Dale Tallon before.

    3. Saj
      November 1, 2011 at

      Though there is a logjam, I’d say the chances of us having two or more of our forwards hurt at some point will result in Omark getting some more NHL playing time. Plus with Hemsky UFA, the logjam may ease up a bit by the trade deadline if we’re out of it and/or next year if not.

    4. Matt Watt
      November 1, 2011 at

      I pray to god this is just a way to get him some ice time. Thing is, knowing Oilers management, this is the last reason we should expect as to why this move occurred.

    5. November 2, 2011 at

      “I suspect he’d look pretty good on a team that has lots of centres but lacks for wingers though.”

      Yes he would. Like Pittsburgh. Or Philly. Or Boston.

      It would be upsetting to me if we flush this guy for a pick. The “future” is almost here, and another draft pick doesn’t help the “win tomorrow” plan that is currently being executed by Oiler mgmt.

    6. November 2, 2011 at

      I suspect it has nothing to do with perceived defensive failings and everything to do with a stats-line that reads “0-0-0″ in five games. Combine that with the perception of him as “an offensive player” and the likelihood that he is behind the other high profile kids on the pecking order and you have your demotion. Coaches also like to stock the roster by player role and player “type”meaning that although Omark is probably a better player than whoever is left playing on the 4th line, he’s not a “grinder” type player and so isn’t “suited” for that role.

      It strikes me that variance can have a lot of say in the careers of youngsters and whether they make the show or not – take the Flames Roman Horak for example. He has terrible underlying possession numbers, but the highest PDO of any regular skater. Sutter has lavished him with affection in the press – and why not? The results seem to favor the kid, right?

      Omark’s PDO? team low 93.5, including an on-ice SH% of zero. Kids not getting the job done even though he’s supposedly an offensive weapon. Better send him down.

    7. Adam D
      November 3, 2011 at

      My favourite part is everyone who says “Renney wants to put him in but no coach changes a lineup after a loss”. They do realize that Omark was sent to the box immediately following a loss, right?

      Right?

    8. Adam D
      November 3, 2011 at

      This all being said, of course, if there was some way for Omark to bring in a D-man I’d be all for it, but I can’t imagine Omark having much value, despite his usefulness.

    9. Ryan
      November 8, 2011 at

      “This isn’t to say that Omark doesn’t have defensive problems – maybe AO has sussed some stuff out but the coach didn’t seem to be too bothered by it – if Omark was in the lineup, he was out there for the last fifteen minutes. It’s awfully curious to see a guy who was clearly one of the coach’s top nine guys to defend a lead in the last three games get himself sent up to the press box for five games and then disappear to the minors.”

      You seriously didn’t think at all that Renney threw Omark on the PK multiple times in his last moments as an Oiler so the coaching staff could assess Omark’s ability? Obviously he didn’t like it so much because Omark was sent to the minors. Seems like an assessment by Renney more than anything.

      You on the other hand take it as Renney feeling comfortable with Omark as a defensive player, but than Renney had a brain fart and sent him to the minors. That certainly makes no sense.

      Pretty obvious it was a “lets see if this kid has figured it out yet, if not … seeya”

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