Showboats!

Jonathan Willis
September 14 2013 10:32AM

Dallas Eakins has been making waves since taking over as head coach – he’s a man of definite opinions and hasn’t shied away from expressing them. On Friday, he took a shotgun to a particularly puerile complaint: players showing off.

The Tampa Bay Incident

Listen to the reaction of the commentators. Look at the reaction of the fans. Look at the reaction of his teammates. Linus Omark scored the game-winning goal in fantastic fashion, not only achieving the desired result but doing it in style. And the home side loved it.

Here’s what the Lightning had to say about it:

  • Ryan Malone: “A (expletive) joke.”
  • Dan Ellis: “It's embarrassing for him. You come into a league, a respectful league like this, and you try a little move like that. It's not a very classy thing. That's just the kind of person he is.”
  • Steven Stamkos: “I didn't think it showed a lot of respect in this game. I mean, you don't see Crosby or Ovechkin doing that and they're the two best players in the game. [Omark's] a creative player, he's got good skill. I'm not taking that away from him, but it didn't really have any implication on his moves, so I don't know why he did that.”

Eakins’ Take

That shootout goal has been dogging Omark since it happened, for reasons that continue to baffle me, and Eakins was asked about it on Friday. The exchange went like this:

  • Reporter: “Back to Omark, in his first stint here he gained a reputation for being a bit of a showboat… do you have any concerns or problems about that element in his game?”
  • Eakins: “No. I don’t. I’m not sure what he did that would be a showboating thing…”
  • Reporter: (Only partially audible, referenced the Tampa Bay incident)
  • Eakins: “Did he score on it?”
  • Reporter: “Yeah.”
  • Eakins: “Well, he backed it up then. If he didn’t score there’d probably be a far bigger problem.”

Flash vs. Substance

An abundance of flash is no substitute for a lack of substance. However, in cases where a player has both a little showmanship shouldn’t be enough to condemn him, either. As the NHL is in the entertainment business, one might even reason that a little showmanship is a good thing.

Eakins was asked how he felt about a young player showing up a veteran defenceman on a play during camp. He replied, “How about the defenceman stop the play? Then you won’t be shown up.”

Fans and media talk all the time about the concept of entitlement, the idea that a player feels he deserves some special treatment by virtue of something other than merit. It’s generally seen to be a bad thing, yet somehow questions like the one above continue to be asked. If a defenceman doesn’t want to be embarrassed on the ice, that’s up to him, not the forwards competing for ice-time. For a player like Omark – or Mark Arcobello, or Jesse Joensuu or Ryan Hamilton or anyone else trying to make the team – the important thing is getting results, and if they can get those results by showing up their competition, power to them. As for those veteran defencemen, once the games start they won’t be able to ask the coach to please keep the other team from making them look like pylons.

Whether the sum total of Omark’s game is enough to get him on the team is very much an open question – Eakins gave a great answer there stressing that Omark needed to play his game to the best of his ability and see what happens – but as much as his flashy moves shouldn’t impact whether he makes the Oilers, neither should they keep him off the team. It’s all about results, and if a player can deliver them while swaggering there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 vetinari
September 14 2013, 10:40AM
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I like Eakins' attitude-- as long as a player backs up the flash, preferably with results, no problem. Over the last few years, the best Oiler moments that I've experienced were:

Yakupov and his amazing and timely celebration

Yakupov kissing the crest

Omark making you wonder "what the heck is he doing" and then scoring

Gagner shooting out the lights for an 8 point game and cheering him on to get 9

Please don't take those out of the game... if you don't want to see these guys celebrate the way they do, I dare you to stop them.

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#2 Voltron
September 14 2013, 11:01AM
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I'm man crushing on Eakins right now...

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#3 Racki
September 14 2013, 11:05AM
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I haven't been very pro-Omark over the years, but I think he is going to be one player that will surprise us all this year. I am not sure if he'll make the team right out of the gate, but I wouldn't be surprised (if for no other reason than the Oilers lose some LW depth with Hall moving to C).

Clean slate for everyone, including Eager... will be interesting to see what these guys do under another coach. Wait.. I've said these words before. OK, interesting to see what these guys do under a demanding, NHL coach.

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#4 sec206
September 14 2013, 11:31AM
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I remember st.louis coming in backwards during a shootout and scoring, what's the difference? Bunch of babies.

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#5 Nightman
September 14 2013, 12:22PM
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Didn't Martin St Louis do a spin move in a shootout a few games later? Disrespectful.

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#6 Ari Gold
September 14 2013, 01:04PM
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Stamkos is talking out of his a$$ on that quote. Ovi scored 50 one year and acted like his stick was on fire and everyone created a silly hoopla.

I remember the Fleury celly, didn't have a problem with it aside from the fact that it was an OT goal for the Flames. For that I hated him, not the celly. Kid was happy, it's easy to pout if you're on the other team.

This unwritten code is for second-rate players who think the GAME is bigger than mere entertainment. I also think we underestimate the immaturity of most hockey players anyway. The reason they're paid is because fans like us pay to be entertained.

So dance, little monkey! Dance!

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#7 wiseguy
September 14 2013, 11:07AM
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I completely agree with Willis' take on the "concept of entitlement". I don't care about etiquette, unwritten codes, respecting veterans, etc. Punching an opponent in the face isn't exactly polite either yet it's part of the game. The good teams don't care who they piss off. We keep saying we need an agitator, who by definition is someone who pisses off the other team. I also hope that as "the idea that a player feels he deserves some special treatment by virtue of something other than merit. It’s generally seen to be a bad thing", it applies to management as well so that we can question why we hire guys with no experience in their jobs and refuse to let them go solely by virtue of their past connections with the team.

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#8 CurtyB
September 14 2013, 11:13AM
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I like this Eakins guy!

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#9 David S
September 14 2013, 11:27AM
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I've watched games on TV in Europe where the fans are allowed to really get into it. Cheering their @aases off, banging glass, drinking up a storm (Wanye stylez), banners everywhere, and on and on.

It's long been my opinion that people go to hockey to be entertained as much or more than watch great athletes perform. I think Oilers management has forgotten that. It's the reason the Octane cheer squad is dressed like church girls (despite the fact half of them are rockets) and Northlands has fun Nazis peppered throughout the rink making sure everybody is sitting on their hands, not drinking too much or having too much fun.

Maybe those Euros are onto something.

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#10 TonyT
September 14 2013, 11:52AM
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While I agree that Omark's build is redundant in the top 6, I have long argued his particular skill set is not. In fact I find his board work to be quite complimentary and unique among the skilled forwards.

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#11 tileguy
September 14 2013, 11:25AM
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Reg Dunlop wrote:

There is a 3rd possibility. Omark gets sent down, clears waivers and continues developing in the AHL. Assuming he gets plucked off waivers is an example of over-valuing our prospects.

I like Linus and I am cheering him on, he will be an upgrade in the bottom 6 with the skill to fill in a top 6 role on an interim basis.

I think this is a little bit more than over-valuing a prospect. No chance in he!! that he clears. (I'll bet money on that)

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#12 Racki
September 14 2013, 11:13AM
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FYI, that Nail goal is going to live in my memories for forever. I'll defend that celly til my death because the atmosphere in Rexall that night was near playoff-like and that tying goal was a monumental achievement worth celebrating. It was an f--- you refs, you can't take this one away from us.

Incidentally, I was at the game and I regularly sit in a similar spot as the guy at 0:15. This dude is my doppleganger, it's scary. I had people texting me saying they saw me on TV freaking out. Then I watched this video later.. I had to watch it a couple times before realizing that it in fact is someone else (the color of hat gave it away, and I don't bang on the glass thanks to the usher-nazi saying it ist verboten). lol Eery.

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#13 **
September 14 2013, 11:41AM
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This is the best article I have read regarding the whole celebrations issue. If you don't want to be shown up, compete harder. I think the criticism from other players and some media comes from the entitlement they feel. This is entertainment, if players don't want to be shown up, maybe they should not play for millions in front of thousands of fans. Hockey is the only sport where both joyful emotion is frowned upon and aggression is celebrated. It baffles me to no end.

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#14 tileguy
September 14 2013, 11:08AM
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I know this has been posted a couple of times, but it really will make you smile watching the talent and creativity of Omark. It's a 4 minuet high lite reel of his goals, and the music is pretty good as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiGxP8v5_Fg

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#15 book¡e
September 14 2013, 12:07PM
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I think you missed an important part of the interview, right after he says that, he adds that if a player is showboating too much or doing something that is not in line with the games norms, that the rest of the team, particularly the team leaders are the ones to reign him in. Its not something the coaches need to do, because the veterans on the team can and do take care of it.

I am a huge fan of Yakupov's celebration and Omarks showboating, but only because both were in the right place and time. I don't want players doing choreographed dances at center ice after they score as some other leagues have.

So, right now, there are some general norms that outline when over the top celebrations are warranted and I am glad that they exist.

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#16 David S
September 14 2013, 11:44AM
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Magic man junior was a pretty good player too. I sometimes regret he lost his way in the NHL. He, Gagner and Cogs were pretty awesome that one spring. Those little dudes tried to drag us into the playoffs by themselves. I really admired that.

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#17 michael
September 14 2013, 11:39AM
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200ft players are what we need. What BS. Guys with skill like Omark and Yakupov are far and few between. They are one shot guys. Slugs like Eager have the goods but can't deliver. Gordon is a specialist and 3rd-4th line guy for a good reason.

The Gagner haters may hate but Gagner produces. Eberle? Clutch. Hall? Dynamo.RHN. Silk.

We need more 200ft players. We need to be responsible in our own end. To the point where we can retrieve the puck and put it into the opponents net.

Eakins sure as heck remembers Omarks 5 goal night against his Marlies. The haters will cry foul and hem and haw about Omarks insufficiencies at the NHL level. They bluster about his skating and his showboating and his defensive game. I'll give you a prime example of a guy who used to kill the Oilers back in the day. Kent Magic Man Nilson. The goat could skate like the wind. But sure as horseKaka he could not check for the life of him. But man he would just light us up like nobody's buissness. When he joined the Oilers for a playoff run I was thrilled. I knew we had gotten a one shot player. We won the Cup that year with Nilson on the team.

What I am saying is that Eakins is not brain dead. He see's that Omark can produce at this level. Can he be an effective player in his system is the question? Can he make players on his line better? The answers to those questions will start tonight.I'd like to see him with Yakupov on a line with Lander. Lander will balance the line in terms of defensive liability. Put Yak and Omark on the PP together. Their skills compliment one another. Omark. At this point what do we have to lose? Give Omark a player of Yaks skill and he may surprise us all with how creative he can be.

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#18 David S
September 14 2013, 01:37PM
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oilbaron wrote:

This got props?

You're losin that bet... he clears for sure. No other teams are interested in him because he hasn't shown that he can do much other than score goals in the nhl. These days organizations are looking for more complete players.

I'd like to see Omark make the team, but he'll have to improve his overall game to stick. Might have to be put in the AHL for a bit, but I doubt he's getting claimed

He ripped it up in the Swedish League last year. My guess is he was using that time to work on his game deficiencies knowing full well his next chance in an NHL jersey might be his last.

How about we wait and see how his game has progressed before proclaiming "his game needs work".

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#19 MessyEH!
September 14 2013, 01:52PM
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One year deal. Low risk. Potential huge return. If Omark hits waivers there are a few teams who would claim him for sure. Detroit being one of them.

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#20 Dog Train
September 14 2013, 01:27PM
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This is an entertainment business. If teams don't like showboating or running up the score then man up and stop it. Nobody is paying to watch robots on skates.

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#21 Taylor Gang
September 14 2013, 03:08PM
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Racki wrote:

FYI, that Nail goal is going to live in my memories for forever. I'll defend that celly til my death because the atmosphere in Rexall that night was near playoff-like and that tying goal was a monumental achievement worth celebrating. It was an f--- you refs, you can't take this one away from us.

Incidentally, I was at the game and I regularly sit in a similar spot as the guy at 0:15. This dude is my doppleganger, it's scary. I had people texting me saying they saw me on TV freaking out. Then I watched this video later.. I had to watch it a couple times before realizing that it in fact is someone else (the color of hat gave it away, and I don't bang on the glass thanks to the usher-nazi saying it ist verboten). lol Eery.

I split season tickets with another guy and I had the pleasure of being at that game (also the 8 point Gagner game) and I'll tell you what: with the refs butchering every call and the Oilers refusing to give up, I literally cried when Yakupov scored that goal. Seriously, I legitimately cried.

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#22 Reg Dunlop
September 14 2013, 11:20AM
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tileguy wrote:

What is interesting is Omark will have to clear waivers to be sent down (I believe) so either he makes the team or he is lost for all time and I can easily see him lighting us up. I still would cheer for him though in different colour silks.

There is a 3rd possibility. Omark gets sent down, clears waivers and continues developing in the AHL. Assuming he gets plucked off waivers is an example of over-valuing our prospects.

I like Linus and I am cheering him on, he will be an upgrade in the bottom 6 with the skill to fill in a top 6 role on an interim basis.

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#23 tileguy
September 14 2013, 11:20AM
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Old timers quiz. re #23 "clear the track, here comes _____" Yes the entertainer, Linus Omark.

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#24 Dangilitis
September 14 2013, 02:42PM
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Stamkos wasn't just talking out of his ass, he was a friggin hypocrite. He used a near-identical move in game action within the month after the whole spin o rama.

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#25 tileguy
September 14 2013, 11:11AM
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What is interesting is Omark will have to clear waivers to be sent down (I believe) so either he makes the team or he is lost for all time and I can easily see him lighting us up. I still would cheer for him though in different colour silks.

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#26 MessyEH!
September 14 2013, 02:06PM
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Gordoil wrote:

Correct he if I'm wrong, but Omark signed a 2 way contract and would not need to go through waivers

http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=681002

One year two way deal. Very little risk for any team to claim. If he doesn't fit the team that claims him they can put him back on waivers and the Oilers pull a Chorney.

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#27 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 14 2013, 03:08PM
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The best part is the complete disconnect JW points out in the received wisdom.

"earn your keep!... but once we've anointed a veteran that we like, don't dare expose his flaws with your own talents!"

I can't stand this kind of bs intruding into hockey talk. It's just bias, based on ephemeral crap.

All that said, I'm an Omark supporter, but I don't expect him to make the team. He's in tough.

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#28 BeeKayDub
September 14 2013, 04:10PM
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"As for those veteran defencemen, once the games start they won’t be able to ask the coach to please keep the other team from making them look like pylons." I loved this line...actually laughed out loud. Thanks, JW.

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#29 Dockstaff
September 14 2013, 08:17PM
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@vetinari

Gagner should be greased for 'showing' up the Stanley Cup Champions and continuing to score points - 8 of them! That's far too many for one player. Greedy. About 90% of the 'reporters' are just that dumb.

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#30 wiseguy
September 14 2013, 11:36AM
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tileguy wrote:

I think this is a little bit more than over-valuing a prospect. No chance in he!! that he clears. (I'll bet money on that)

Omark was available to anybody over the last year for very little return and was passed over. Unless he lights it up (in which case he would stay with the big club anyway) he won't be claimed. MacT also put in a poison pill by signing him to a larger contract ($875,000) which becomes less palatable to most teams close to the cap.

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#31 Robin Brownlee
September 14 2013, 01:02PM
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Completely agree with Willis and his take now and felt the same way back in June of 2012 . . .http://oilersnation.com/2012/6/25/nailing-it-bring-it-on

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#32 The Oilers Shot Clock
September 14 2013, 02:07PM
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I would be afraid of Eakins death stare if I did something showboaty and it didnt work. Eakins is an intimidating personality. He might be more ok with the showboating than his players are once they get to know him.

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#33 MessyEH!
September 14 2013, 02:08PM
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Also, this all day long!

http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/1451485-detroit-red-wings-why-they-should-aggressively-pursue-linus-omark

That ain't a list of AHL scrubs he was out producing.

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#34 Romulus' Apotheosis
September 14 2013, 03:14PM
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BTW... I think we can exclude opposing players from saying silly things after getting burned...

it's kinda human nature to grab at any straw-men to hit your enemy with when you've been burned.

The members of the media clinging to silly narratives don't get any such exclusion.

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#35 dougtheslug
September 14 2013, 03:59PM
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This celly thing is totally overblown - a media creation. I know Jonathan Quick didn't even see Yaks celebration because he was face down on the ice, despairing over the fact he had deflected Hall's shot right into Yaks wheelhouse. What I remember of Fleury's celebration was exactly nothing - I was at the game and hanging my head, thinking that the Oil had blown the series. I was kind of expecting that Fleury would be celebrating - it was a pretty big goal after all. Eakins is right when he says that if don't want to be shown up then don't give the opponent an excuse to show you up.

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#36 MessyEH!
September 14 2013, 02:26PM
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wiseguy wrote:

Omark was available to anybody over the last year for very little return and was passed over. Unless he lights it up (in which case he would stay with the big club anyway) he won't be claimed. MacT also put in a poison pill by signing him to a larger contract ($875,000) which becomes less palatable to most teams close to the cap.

Two way deals, are not poison pills.Omark would get claimed just to create a buzz in any hockey market. Fans would be "curious and furious" Just like the Oilers fan base. Imagine if he was claimed by Calgary, or Van.

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#37 Taylor Gang
September 14 2013, 03:26PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

The best part is the complete disconnect JW points out in the received wisdom.

"earn your keep!... but once we've anointed a veteran that we like, don't dare expose his flaws with your own talents!"

I can't stand this kind of bs intruding into hockey talk. It's just bias, based on ephemeral crap.

All that said, I'm an Omark supporter, but I don't expect him to make the team. He's in tough.

Amen. The media seems to put veterans on a pedastal and gives them an out if they don't play up to snuff.

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#38 oilbaron
September 14 2013, 01:18PM
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@tileguy

This got props?

You're losin that bet... he clears for sure. No other teams are interested in him because he hasn't shown that he can do much other than score goals in the nhl. These days organizations are looking for more complete players.

I'd like to see Omark make the team, but he'll have to improve his overall game to stick. Might have to be put in the AHL for a bit, but I doubt he's getting claimed

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#39 Taylor Gang
September 14 2013, 03:16PM
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And about the Omark situation, Tampa Bay can complain all they want and say how "unclassy" the move was, but they were obviously just butthurt because Omark pulled off a risky move that could have backfired hard and he scored, thus making him a hero. They just don't want to lose to the hands of a cocky player. It also added insult to injury that they were in the away building and the crowd loved it. Turn the situation around and see what the Lightning would say about it.

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#40 Scobydoo
September 14 2013, 07:09PM
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Omark 1 year 600k = claimed! If he clears, im gonna start sending cristmas-card to Don Cherry!

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#41 Rob...
September 14 2013, 12:14PM
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It still needs to be seen whether or not it negatively impacts a full season of hockey, but I love seeing a coach willing to rip apart anyone with a sense of entitlement.

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#42 Gordoil
September 14 2013, 01:58PM
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Correct he if I'm wrong, but Omark signed a 2 way contract and would not need to go through waivers

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#43 TigerUnderGlass
September 14 2013, 08:05PM
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@@Oilanderp

S.H.Y.N.E.?

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#44 @Oilanderp
September 14 2013, 04:14PM
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tileguy wrote:

I know this has been posted a couple of times, but it really will make you smile watching the talent and creativity of Omark. It's a 4 minuet high lite reel of his goals, and the music is pretty good as well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiGxP8v5_Fg

Well worth the watch. He has done some of these things against NHL competition. What skill! Surely the coach can make him backcheck (or should I say SHACKcheck?) Surely?!?!?!?!?

I found this too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkf4649vQ6Q

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#45 wiseguy
September 15 2013, 12:19AM
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MessyEH! wrote:

Two way deals, are not poison pills.Omark would get claimed just to create a buzz in any hockey market. Fans would be "curious and furious" Just like the Oilers fan base. Imagine if he was claimed by Calgary, or Van.

If you claim him he has to play on your NHL club and you have to pay him $875,000. You cannot send him to the minors, so yes you have to be pretty sure you want him and not just to create a buzz.

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#46 MessyEH!
September 15 2013, 02:57AM
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wiseguy wrote:

If you claim him he has to play on your NHL club and you have to pay him $875,000. You cannot send him to the minors, so yes you have to be pretty sure you want him and not just to create a buzz.

Please provide a link. If the the rule has changed in this CBA I may have missed it. The only waiver change I was aware of was no more re-entry waivers.

Taylor Chorney was claimed by St Louis and placed on waivers. And then reclaimed by the Oilers .

So please provide a link to the change.

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#47 @Oilanderp
September 14 2013, 04:51PM
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Alright the last time Omark was here risked our hockey lives for the acronym "H.O.P.E."

Now time has passed and we have H.E.N.S.Y.

...aww crap. I'm bad at acronyms.

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#48 Mo Deet
September 14 2013, 05:28PM
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So I'll be the one, this thread, to point out that a two way contract has nothing to do with being waiver exempt. If anything it makes the pickup more attractive, as you can pay the player less if they land in your farm system.

#ifyoudontknowyoudontknow

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#49 Craig1981
September 14 2013, 06:05PM
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Mo Deet wrote:

So I'll be the one, this thread, to point out that a two way contract has nothing to do with being waiver exempt. If anything it makes the pickup more attractive, as you can pay the player less if they land in your farm system.

#ifyoudontknowyoudontknow

Close, but you if you pick up a player on waivers you can't yourself put him down on your farm team without the original team having the option to take him back. This goes for the entire season

(see Taylor Chorney)

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#50 striatic
September 15 2013, 12:13AM
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@Oilanderp wrote:

Alright the last time Omark was here risked our hockey lives for the acronym "H.O.P.E."

Now time has passed and we have H.E.N.S.Y.

...aww crap. I'm bad at acronyms.

Hall, Yakupov, Perron, Eberle

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