GDB 79.0: GOING OUT IN STYLE

Jason Gregor
April 05 2011 12:23PM

After going 26 games without a goal, Linus Omark has scored in two straight games and in a 4-1 victory over the first place Vancouver Canucks on Saturday, Omark was at his electrifying best. When he is on his game the fourth round pick in 2007 is highly creative, tenacious and dogged on the puck, surprisingly hard to knock off his skates and a risk taker. If Omark plays tonight like he did on Saturday, win or lose, Oiler fans will leave Rexall Place entertained.

"I'm not sure you win without that element of risk in your game, quite honestly," said Tom Renney. "But you have to make sure you attack as five people and don't leave it up to one guy, but more importantly you have to be sound defensively, and as long as Linus continues to pay attention to that, and recognize the value of five in the picture and being very much a part of the primary checker when it is there for him or picking up the right people away from that, then I have no problem with
it (creatitivity).

"The bottom line is, he is going to have figure out soon rather than later that he has that skill and that invites some heavy checking, and that can be an advantage too, if he moves the puck the right way."

Yesterday Renney compared Omark to Pavel Bure in terms of excitiment and creativity. Omark doesn't skate like the Russian Rocket, but as long as he keeps his feet moving he is dangerous. Omark is incredibly confident with the puck, and he isn't afraid to try things or make the tough play. Even his teammates recognize there is some risk in his game.

"He is that type of player, he wants to try stuff. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, but when he does it it is fantastic. He just has to choose his moments a bit better, but I think he has done that pretty well this year. I love it when someone tries to do something extraordinary, and especially when he succeeds. I think it is great for the game and when he tries stuff he gets all of us excited," said Magnus Paajarvi.

Not only does Omark excite his teammates, his creatitivity gets fans and the media talking. I found it interesting that no one from CBC was ripping Omark after his first star performance against Vancouver, yet a few weeks earlier Glenn Healy and Kelly Hrudey both ripped him for his lack of respect and being a "hot-dog". I guess as long as the cocky moves pay off then CBC won't critique his moves.

Devan Dubnyk will try and sweep this mini two-game series v. the Canucks, but the rest of the lineup is up in the air. Gilbert Brule and Colin Fraser won't dress. Taylor Chorney has been skating for a few weeks and says he is ready to play, but he'll be a game time decision.

The Oilers didn't run any lines in practice today, and so the best guess is based on yesterday's combos.

Hartikainen/Vande Velde/Eberle
Paajarvi/O'Marra/Jones
Reddox/Cogliano/Omark
MacIntyre/Jacques/Strudwick

Ladislav Smid skated again and says he feels fine and wants to play. If he does, then the D pairings will be the same as Saturday. There is a chance you will see Reddox and Hartikainen switch spots, and I'm sure Renney will have the blender out at times, because I can't see him throwing that fourth line over the boards very often.

FOUR THOUGHTS

 

  1.  It is interesting how we view players differently. Over the weekend Jarome Iginla notched his 1,000 career point in his 1103rd game,and many said he should be a guaranteed HOFamer. Iginla has had five 80+ points seasons and won three playoffs series; all of them during the Flames Cup run in 2004. Joe Thornton, meanwhile, has 999 points and will most likely reach 1,000 points in his 993rd game tomorrow night. Thornton has had six 80+ points seasons, including three of 100 or more. He has won seven playoff series, but has only made it to the 3rd round once. Thornton has yet to be a dominant playoff performer, and I wonder if the Flames wouldn't have made their great run in 2004 if people would say the same about Iginla? Do you think playoff success should mean that much when comparing HOFamers?
     
  2. Speaking of the San Jose Sharks, I hate to admit it, but a small part of me is wondering if this is the year they finally get out of the Western conference. The Sharks have swam under the radar all season, and with the Canucks and Red Wings getting most of the attention, I wonder if having no expectations will help the Sharks? I vowed last year that I would never pick them to win the Cup again, and I won't, but I've found myself fighting the urge to believe in them again.
     
  3. The PHWA (Professional Hockey Writers Association) met earlier this week and discussed whether or not they would boycott voting for the NHL players awards, in response to the childish and immature reaction of Garth Snow and the Islanders. Snow banned writer/blogger Chris Botta back in November because he felt Botta was being too critical and was trying to make the "story about him and not the team." The PHWA decided that it was too close to the voting to boycott them, however, the chapters of the NYR, NYI, NJ and CBJ have said they won't vote. If the PHWA wanted to make a statement they should have elected not to vote. Having four of 30 chapters walk away doesn't do anything. The NHL needs to realize they can't ban a reporter just because an overzealous oversensitive GM can't handle a little criticism. The PHWA's decision seems eerily similar to when the NHL hands out a suspension; meaningless.
     
  4. If the Oklahoma City Barons can win two of three this weekend they should make the playoffs, and if they do, Omark, Jeff Petry, Ryan O'Marra, Teemu Hartikainen and Chris Vande Velde could help them go a long way in the playoffs. OKC plays in San Antonio on Friday, then in Texas on Saturday and in Houston on Sunday. The Oilers are praying they can win at least two and get to the postseason. All five of the eligible Oilers admit they've been watching the standings and are all hoping they will get a shot at the Calder Cup once they are done in Edmonton. I'm curious to see how much playing time Martin Marincin will get this weekend, considering OKC has six decent AHL D-man right now. If they play him one of Richard Petiot, Alex Plante, Colten Teubert, Bryan Helmer, Jake Taylor or Kevin Montgomery will take a seat.

SWEEPING SEASON

GAME DAY PREDICTION: I'm sure it is rare that the 30th and 1st place teams play back-to-back, and I can't imagine the 30th place team ever sweeping a two-game series. The Oilers deserved their 4-1 victory on Saturday, but the Canucks were a bit snarly this morning after their coach stopped practice yesterday due to a lack of focus and work ethic. The Oilers are fired up for tonight's game, but so are the Canucks so I'll go with the President Trophy winners to win 4-2.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: After holding the Sedin's to only one point (Henrik) on Saturday, the Oilers will be over-powered by the Swedes tonight. The Sedins will combine for four points and Daniel will surpass 100 points, but won't match Henrik's 112 point season from last year.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: While many have forgotten about Alex Burrows' comment earlier this year about how he doesn't like Ladislav Smid and was happy when Sean Avery one-punched him in New York, Smid hasn't. Early in the 2nd period, Smid will go into the corner with Burrows. They will collide along the boards, and Smid won't ask for an invitation like he did with Avery, but instead he will drop the gloves, grab Burrows and start chucking. Referees Mike Leggo and Kyle Rehman will recall Burrow's accusation of Mr. Auger last year and give both players fighting majors despite Burrows only throwing one punch, with his gloves on. After the game Smid mentions how he learned from his mistake v. Avery, and knew that Burrows would never fight unless he was forced to. Burrows will credit the refs for making the right call, with the hope he'll get a call go his way during the playoffs. 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Ninjai
April 05 2011, 07:43PM
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Eberle with 42 points *crosses fingers*

If he can get past this cursed number he'll be okay... Come on 43!

For the love of Wayne!!!

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#52 TonyT
April 05 2011, 07:44PM
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anyone have a link to the game? Thanks

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#53 Quicksilver ballet
April 05 2011, 07:59PM
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TonyT wrote:

anyone have a link to the game? Thanks

atdhe.me

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#54 @Oilanderp
April 05 2011, 08:20PM
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Apparently a canuck D-man's stick stuck up inside Omark's jersey doesn't warrant a call.

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#55 Butters
April 05 2011, 08:24PM
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Zarf wrote:

I said it before on here but it bears repeating: For Hrudey and Healy to claim Omark is cocky, they need a helluva lot more than:

- Doing a spin-o-rama and fake-slapshot shootout move.

- Tapping the sides of the net from behind the net to divert the goalie's attention.

- Failing to hold up at the offensive blueline on a completely routine offside.

- Flipping the puck over the top of the net. (I don't know if they've cited this one as proof-positive that he's cocky, but I'm willing to bet it is).

Anyway, the character-judgement-from-two-zones-away that Hrudey and Healy have brought down on Omark is one of the strangest things I've seen on HNIC of late. It always leaves me with a weird vibe - like they've got a problem with him being a small, skilled player from Sweden or something. If it was Don Cherry saying that, we'd be calling him a xenophobe or racist.

The funny thing is, when Ron MacLean asked Don Cherry about Omark's famous shootout move against Tampa last December, Grapes didn't really make any anti-Euro/Swede comments like he would have 20 years ago. But apparently, Hrudey and Healy have opted to pick up his torch in a more subtle, measured but more vile way.

In other words, Hrudey and Healy are higher on the xenophobe-o-meter than Grapes is.

And that's simply amazing. And really, really odd. I can't believe Ron MacLean just sits there and lets them get away with it ... for two weekends in a row.

Cherry thinks the shoot-out is gimmicky so he wasn't going to criticize a gimmick within a gimmick. At least that's what I got out of that segment.

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#56 OilFan
April 05 2011, 08:51PM
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The big night is tomorrow

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#57 @Oilanderp
April 05 2011, 09:15PM
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Torres must die.

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#58 Butters
April 05 2011, 09:16PM
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Somebody better restrain Wanye.

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#59 Lofty
April 05 2011, 09:16PM
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I'm sure Wayne will have something to say about that hit.

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#60 DoubleJ
April 05 2011, 09:17PM
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Ninjai wrote:

Eberle with 42 points *crosses fingers*

If he can get past this cursed number he'll be okay... Come on 43!

For the love of Wayne!!!

damn you, the 42 point curse. he looks ok though.

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#61 DoubleJ
April 05 2011, 09:21PM
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Foster is a loser.

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#62 DoubleJ
April 05 2011, 09:23PM
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Seriously Foster kills the pp.

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#63 Cool Beans
April 05 2011, 09:27PM
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Is it too early to call President's Trophy winner next year?

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#64 @Oilanderp
April 05 2011, 09:31PM
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This is proof of alien abduction. The extraterrestrials have come and replaced the Oilers with hockey players!

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#65 Wäx Män Riley
April 05 2011, 09:36PM
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I just watched the game in a Canucks chatroom (on JTV) and wow! Those are the most annoying homers ever.

They figured the Torres/Eberle hit was completely clean and the refs won the game for the Oil.

Then I got banned when I tried to say that the Canucks choked and they had chances to score but didn't.

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#66 Mantastic
April 05 2011, 09:47PM
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and this is why i hate the canucks!!!!

what's worse is living in vancouver when it's playoffs.

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#67 third string plumber
April 05 2011, 10:35PM
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thank Oilers... For shutting up the Canuck fans at work...

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#68 dougtheslug
April 05 2011, 10:57PM
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The most amazing thing about those two penalty calls when the Canucks were shorthanded was that the refs still missed a third one-Cogs was highsticked and crosschecked at the same time. Nice discipline, Canucks.The highlight for me was when the fans in the upper deck started chanting "First Round Exit, First Round Exit!!"Nice. Madison Square Garden quality heckling. Now if we can only finish off the Flames this season won't have been wasted.

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#69 DonDon
April 06 2011, 01:13AM
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Loved the comment: "This is proof of alien abduction. The extraterrestrials have come and replaced the Oilers with hockey players!" Still laughing. If only Tambo could do the same.

I can only hope this takes place when the Oilers play the Flames.

Omark is something special. he makes other players better. With him on the ice, the Oilers are strong on the puck, a previous serious weakness.

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#70 knobby k
April 06 2011, 01:13AM
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The only problem with Omark is he is a pure talent with a less-than-perfect NHL game. The Oil scouted him and drafted in a later round. What pisses off the talking heads is he isn't playing for Calgary or Toronto. I hope the Oil give him the minutes and room to play and develop just to rub it in the fat greasy faces of boneheads like Hrudey and Healey.

When I watched their post-game antics I was surprised to see Maclean sit there stunned Buddha and let them rip a player's character by name like a couple of school girls. Nobody gets away doing that to Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto as far as I know.

I think they owe the player and the Oil an apology for a completely un-called-for personal attack. I won't hold my breath expecting any response approximating any close to class from those clowns.

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