Well it was bound to happen at some point this year. Linus Omark would be taken out of the Edmonton Oilers lineup because of his quote unquote “defensive shortcomings”.
That wouldn’t be considered a shocker but that it could potentially happen after just the first game of the season is enough to raise a few eyebrows.
It looks like Omark won’t play Thursday against Minnesota, or at least that’s the way things appeared at practice on Tuesday. Omark wasn’t on the wing with Shawn Horcoff and Magnus Paajarvi. Instead Ryan Jones took that spot and Lennart Petrell was moved to the fourth line while Omark skated as one of the extra forwards.
At first glance this could have looked like a move to reflect Tom Renney’s unhappiness with Linus’ failed shootout attempt in a 2-1 win against Pittsburgh on Sunday. Omark got cute with the chance, which is what he does, and missed the net.
In fact we’re half right. Renney is unhappy, not at the shootout attempt, but instead at Omark’s defensive liabilities. This is the continuing storyline with the 24-year-old. Creativity and offensive flair you love, lack of defensive dependability you hate when you’re the head coach.
Renney didn’t look to single out Omark because as a team the Oilers had 20 giveaways and Linus officially only accounted for one. The coach has been in the Swede’s corner, not wanting to stifle his creativity but at the same time preaching defensive awareness.
It leaves me wondering how bad is he defensively? Can he do it or does he not want do it? He may never have the brain to be a Selke Trophy winner but Omark is far from not being smart enough to realize he has to play a certain amount of ‘D’ otherwise there will be n’O’ playing time.