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):
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.
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.