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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#51 Racki
September 15 2013, 12:03PM
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MessyEH! wrote:

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.

He actually doesn't have to post a link to the change, because this isn't a change.. it's an old, existing rule.

Old rules state if you claim a player on waivers, that player has to pass through waivers in order to get demoted to the new team's farm club. So, as he stated, the new club has to keep the team on their NHL club, for all intents. In addition to that, if the new club waives Omark, and the Oilers put in a claim on him and no one else does, they can demote him to the AHL waiver free as long as they do it within 30 days. (13.20 of the CBA.. there are more limitations on this, not worth mentioning)

Omark's salary is actually $600k though, so the claiming team needs to pay them $600k, not $875k, but I assume that wiseguy just was going by memory.

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#52 MessyEH!
September 15 2013, 02:00PM
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Racki wrote:

He actually doesn't have to post a link to the change, because this isn't a change.. it's an old, existing rule.

Old rules state if you claim a player on waivers, that player has to pass through waivers in order to get demoted to the new team's farm club. So, as he stated, the new club has to keep the team on their NHL club, for all intents. In addition to that, if the new club waives Omark, and the Oilers put in a claim on him and no one else does, they can demote him to the AHL waiver free as long as they do it within 30 days. (13.20 of the CBA.. there are more limitations on this, not worth mentioning)

Omark's salary is actually $600k though, so the claiming team needs to pay them $600k, not $875k, but I assume that wiseguy just was going by memory.

Right. This is what I was stating. If he is put on waivers and claimed. The only risk is an AHL salary. If Omark is claimed, and a team plays him. The 600000 is prorated, only for the games he plays. There is not really any risk in claiming a player that is on a two way deal for one year.

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#53 Tikkanese
September 16 2013, 11:56AM
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I lost respect for Stamkos for that comment, especially when he did a breakaway spin-o-rama himself DURING a game about two weeks after his comment on Omark's spin-o-rama during a shootout. Who is showing the real disrespect to the game, Stamkos?

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