MR. POOPY PANTS: ON THE OTHER HAND

Based on performance and need, highlight reel hotshot Linus Omark isn’t the first player who should be recalled from the Oklahoma City Barons by the Edmonton Oilers. Now that I think about it, he’s not even the second.

While Omark’s brilliant five-goal night in 7-6 shootout win over the Toronto Marlies Sunday is noteworthy, as has been his performance since being demoted by the Oilers, the talented Swede doesn’t fit the bill as to what the NHL roster most needs right now.

If you’re talking about a call-up as a reward for Omark’s prolific production with the Barons so far, especially if Shawn Horcoff is out for more than Tuesday’s game against Carolina — I doubt that’s the case — fine, I suppose.

Not my first option, but no real harm in it. The 23-year-old winger got the short straw in not being named to the roster after the pre-season, so maybe Steve Tambellini owes him one.

That said, unless Omark can play on the blue line, or kill penalties and slot into Tom Renney’s bottom-six as an effective checker, recalling him won’t address the most glaring long-term needs on the roster. I’d argue Liam Reddox or Shawn Belle would best fill the holes.

NEEDS RATHER THAN WANTS

I get the excitement generated among fans by Omark, who sits among the top scorers in the AHL with 10-7-17 in 15 games with OKC. So far, he’s more than delivered as advertised.

What I don’t get, given the needs of the roster as it stands, is ignoring the obvious shortcomings of this team to justify shoe-horning Omark into a role he’s not suited best for. Likewise, as always, the willingness of fans to be easily swayed from the game plan — that proper rebuild everybody says they want.

That rebuild, if we’re looking beyond the short-term, will include Omark in good time. Fifteen games does not nearly constitute, at least in my mind, a best-before date for him.

If the Oilers have to do without a prime penalty killer in Horcoff for a game or two and intend to put a call into OKC, it should probably be for Reddox, who is much better suited to take on what Horcoff brings. I’m told Reddox has been very good for the Barons, although he doesn’t boast the numbers Omark does.

I’d also argue that the Oilers need to take a look at Belle for their back end because I’m getting dizzy just watching overmatched Jason Strudwick and Jim Vandermeer lurching around in their own end because Renney has no other options. Enough already. You want to talk need? There it is.

WE’LL SEE

My best guess is the Oilers won’t make a roster move to replace Horcoff. I think you’ll see Andrew Cogliano get more ice time, Gilbert Brule moved to centre, Ryan Jones moved up a line and Steve MacIntyre draw in to play with Colin Fraser and Zack Stortini on the fourth line.

Regardless of who slots in where when the Oilers take the morning skate in Raleigh Tuesday, clamouring for Omark, at least at this point, doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Yes, Omark, with his mad offensive skills, might be something special down the road, but we don’t know yet. Then again, he might also be Domenic Pittis. We don’t know yet. Small sample-size and all that. And who is this Marc Pouliot guy with 18 points in the AHL scoring derby?

Reddox isn’t nearly as sexy a choice as Omark right now, but he’s likely the better one up front. Likewise, Belle, or anybody who can put their skates on the proper feet and shore up a defence that’s woefully thin behind Ryan Whitney and the surprising Theo Peckham. Think needs, not wants.

— Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Based on the last few years, I’m beginning to see a trend. The Oilers say one thing, and then do the opposite. From the three goalie system(we won’t do that a third time-swear!!!), to not giving Roli his contract and then signing Khabby, to penny pinching Smytty and then giving DP a 400% raise, to giving untested, unproven Sam Gagner a roster spot at 18 and then tell a 23 year old with 5 years pro experience to “show us what you got in the AHL” the list never ends. I don’t know if it’s K-Lo or Tambo or what but until this organization get’s it’s sh*t together as a whole, stuff like this is always going to happen. One game shouldn’t be the basis for a call up, but a good TC, preseason, and start of the year in the minors is. We apparently don’t have enough room in our top 6 for the rooks, but heaven forbid if Omark played with PRV and cogs(?) on our 3 line. When the time for a call up happens, it had better be Omark or the circle of hypocrisy that is the Oil will only get worse.

  • Bar Qu

    Defense holes are by design, remember? The GM knew from day one what he had (heck, he knew in August) and he is happy with it. Probably still is. So why bring up Belle? More scoring, flair and dash is what is needed, so Omark fits the bill perfectly.

    ~this is after all, a well managed club.~

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Robin

    Hudler’s numbers are pointing in the right direction. He had a modest initial campaign and in the next year improved by 17 points, and improved on that 2nd season by a further 15 points. He is not getting the lions share of PP time and is getting it done.

    Cogliano is the exact opposite. His scoring has decreased year over year and has not improved his ancillary skillset at all. Horrible at face-offs when he started….. Still terrible

    • I know what the numbers are. Hudler also attained his numbers on teams that finished with 113, 115 and 112 points. The Oilers had points totals of 88, 85 and 62 in Cogliano’s first three full seasons. Arrows? Nice jargon. How about those arrows?

      Don’t stray from the point: suggesting Cogliano isn’t a “real” NHL player is hogwash.

      • Banger

        Robin, I agree with point of replacing Horcoff and having to replace all the roles he plays. But seriously, how much worse are you going to make the penalty kill? They are already last in the league in that stat with the penalty killers they have. Do they loose another percent or two on their stats?

        • Khabibulin stopping some shots when the Oilers are shorthanded will make a bigger difference than any call-up.

          The point isn’t immediate improvement or a decline in performance in any given aspect of the game. The object of the exercise is to get in the habit of identifying weaknesses and addressing them with the right personnel, which is something the Oilers have been lousy at.

  • O.C.

    I wonder if the mandate is to create excitement with OKC, instead of feeding them borderline ECHLers?
    Petiot and Belle are obvious call up choices… But when Horcoff is hurt, you step back and realize just how hard he is to replace….

  • magisterrex

    OK, I admit to a little hyperbole for dramatic effect. However, Cogliano is as he is, and that’s not a very effect Top 6 player. I think his skillset consists of skating very fast and that’s it. He can luck out on the dot, but normally is on the losing end. He can shoot, but doesn’t seem to get the puck actually over the goal line.

    He’s young, sure, but then again, he’s had a couple of years to show something else, and is now on his THIRD head coach. The Oilers are not lacking for smallish players, and his talents are not essential going forward. I’d rather have the small guy with hands of gold who might be skating at regular NHL speed than the guy who skates like the Devil is chasing him but can’t bury his chances.

    Trade him while he’s viewed as an up-and-coming forward, rather than a “he coulda been a contenda.”

    • Blue Blooded

      I agree that Cogs may be the best choice to involve in a trade, but to say all he can do is skate is ridiculous. Yes he is ridiculously fast; what really sets Cogliano aside is how he handles the puck at top flight. I personally would like to see him blossom into a playmaker. We’ve all seen him FLY into the opposition’s end with the puck on a thread. If you ask me, he just needs to work on dishing the puck effectively once he’s there and avoid getting knocked off the puck by bigger guys (oh ya, and the faceoff thing). Of course, he also needs linemates who can keep up with him. He will probably never become a superstar, but if you ask me, Cogs will have a long and successful NHL career. Also, hasn’t he not missed a single game as an Oiler? Geez, wish that could rub off on the rest of the guys.

      • magisterrex

        Sure he can carry the puck while skating fast. The trouble is, the puck doesn’t end up in the opposition’s net. You can admire the man for his speed, but the results are what they are. I also believe that his lack of injury is more likely his penchant for not going into tough areas where he might get a bit roughed up.

        I can only hope this love affair with Cogliano is league-wide, and he nets something good as a return in a trade.

        • D-Man

          Skating fast without offensive flair?? Hmm – can you say Todd Marchant?? The only difference right now between Marchant and Cogs is the fact that Marchant was a 50% faceoff guy. As I recall, he really didn’t develop into that role after years 4 or 5 in the NHL…

          Your argument about Cogs lack of injury is also somewhat flawed… Coming towards the last 25 games of last season, Cogs was going into the ‘tough areas’ and trying to throw his body around.. He’s done the same for the opening 12 games of this season as well..

          To expect Cogliano to be a top six forward is not realistic. He doesn’t have that skill set. Once he improves his faceoff performance – and the last couple games he has shown improvement – he could become a valuable 3rd line forward and PK killer…

  • That’s a lot of words. None of which sway me in the least. And save the dissertation on Penner. You can write 20 paragraphs on him if you want, but his current contract will stand as the longest and most lucrative of his career. It isn’t “cheap.”

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Robin, this entire article is like double rainbows to my eyes! I was getting schlacked on Gregor’s article yesterday for saying pretty much the same thing. Nice to see that once somebody credible writes essentially the same thing (although I suggested Moran instead of Reddox or Belle if we are replacing Horcoff) some people change their tune.

    Thank you for making me feel less dumb.

    *returns to his life of science*

    • Jason Gregor

      Are you suggesting I’m not credible? I’m going to stop writing I guess…the pain..the pain…

      Calling up someone who can help the PK is great, if they have someone like that. Just because OKC has a great PK, doesn’t guarantee those guys will make the Oilers one better. Just like there is no guarantee Omark will score the same in the AHL as he does here. In fact, he probably won’t.

      My article was about replacing a top-nine forward. I could care less about making the Oilers better this season. And anyone who thinks Petiot will be better than Vandermeer or Strudwick is only reaching. No proof he will be. Two solid preseason games doesn’t mean anything.

      And while Brownlee might think Omark doesn’t deserve a chance to play just yet, doesn’t mean it is right. It’s a different viewpoint, but not more or less correct.

      • “And while Brownlee might think Omark doesn’t deserve a chance to play just yet, doesn’t mean it is right. It’s a different viewpoint, but not more or less correct.”

        Of course I’m right . . .

        This isn’t about who “deserves” what. Omark has performed very well, but he doesn’t fit the need right now. The team doesn’t need to throw him crumbs by switching and swapping players to squeeze him into a role he’s not best suited for in the long term.

        What the team should do with Omark is send him a clear message: “We see you as a top-six forward. We see what you’re doing down in OKC. Keep doing it and we’re going to make room for you to excel in that role here.” No crumbs. No two-game call-ups as a pat on the head.

        Develop the player and use the player in a role he can succeed in. Using Omark on the third line or even the fourth is as goofy as forcing Reddox into top six minutes like MacT did from time to time. In a pinch? OK. As a plan? No.

        Unless I’ve missed something, Renney hasn’t called anybody up this morning and the line-up will be tweaked as I suggested: Cogliano moves up, Brule moves into the middle, Jones goes to the third line and MacIntyre draws in on the fourth with Stortini and Fraser.

        • Jason Gregor

          Develop the player and use the player in a role he can succeed in. Using Omark on the third line or even the fourth is as goofy as forcing Reddox into top six minutes like MacT did from time to time. In a pinch? OK. As a plan? No.

          On this team the 3rd line can generate just as much offence. The LW will be one of 91, 27 or 4 and with Brule in the middle Omark wouldn’t be playing with pluggers.

          I agree one game does squat, but if the kid keeps scoring I’d be surprised if we don’t see him in January.

          If a checker goes down, that might actually help the Oilers, then sure call up the Red Ox.

          And only way D comes up is if they send a veteran down, and I don’t see the need to embarrass a guy in his final year with the team, or if elect to keep JF down there. I don’t see a realistic way a Dman comes up, unless one of the current seven get hurt.

      • I'm a Scientist!

        ZUT ALORS! Yikes! After reading what i wrote, it DOES sound like I am suggesting you are not credible! Sorry! Nothing of the sort. I was trying to suggest that I am not credible (And, I know that I am not – just a fan boy) as I wrote similar stuff yesterday, but NOW it comes from a credible source! Sorry about that. I love your articles and rarely disagree with your suggestions.

        I didn’t say anything about Petiot, so I am assuming that is in reference to a different commenter.

        You are right, just because Brownlee says it, doesn’t make it right. It just feels good to know that my opinion was not totally off the mark.

  • I’m sorry, but Cogs is brutal. Yes, fast but hands of stone and doesn’t have a shred of offensive flare. There is only so many times I can watch him come flying over the blue line and well, that’s where it ends. He’s had his chance and proven nothing.

  • Jason Gregor

    People need to stop and think about a lot of the things that keep them up at night. First- Cogliano is a good NHL player. You do not score 36 goals in your first two years by fluke. Look at who he was playing with last year. Nuff said. ps-look at how Marchant ended up: key role player on a Cup champ team. Second-It doesn’t matter who or if or when they call someone up. It should be Omark for forwards and Petiot for defence but that’s beside the point. We’re in a rebuild. We can put any piece into any position and we won’t be affected by it. In fact, it’s been nice to just watch the team and just plain evaluate. Points in the standings are way down the depth chart right now compared to looking at the players for their true hockey value to your team. Third-Everyone, and I mean everyone(except a high ranking employee of a NHL team) needs to stop coming up with trade scenarios. Every single one I see makes absolutely no sense. Teams employ people just to interpret the cap and CBA, so anyone that thinks “it makes sense for both sides” is kidding themselves. Leave the fantasy swaps for NHL11. I could go on but I won’t

  • Alex Hemsky

    Re Reddox Waivers

    “The Player Has Recently Been Exposed to Waivers

    If a player cleared waivers and is subsequently recalled during the same year, he does not have to clear waivers again unless he has either played 10 or more NHL games or has spent 30 or more days on an NHL roster since last clearing. Otherwise, he will have to re-clear waivers to be assigned”

    – taken from pension plan puppets waiver 101 guide

    Based on this I think he’s fine.

  • D-Man

    Yes Reddox needs to come up but so do Omark & Belle . We have 2 players MaC and Stortini doing the same role wit Jaq coming soon . As for “D” Struds & Van should both go down . The problem is Tambo wants a top 5 draft pick . If you want to improve having an Omark or Reddox waiting to take your job , even sitting on the bench would get more from this team . You pick your top 14 and top 7 .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    When this organization gets the balls to send Strudsy down to the A and bring up Belle/Petiot (aka a real player), then we will start to move forward. Still a little bit of nepotism lingers. Now, Struds is a great guy, great in the locker room, blah blah blah, but two other teams let him go already, its our turn. At least next year we need to start rewarding ability and not “he’s our friend”-ness.
    I think if one of the following goes down: Cogs, Gags, Hall, MP, Eberle, Hemmer, you better be bringing up Omark then, so help me. The excuses will be gone.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    What is the value of a 30 goal 30 assist man in todays game, i don’t think it drops off at all. At 4 million+ per, i think Penner would have his choice of teams to go to. Sure he could be more physical at times but the rarely injured big body 30 goal man will surpass the 5 yr 20 million dollar contract as soon as he’s eligable. It won’t happen here in Edmonton but i’m sure he would be one of the first deals out of the shute on July 1st 2012. Bottom 6 forwards settle for whats being offered in todays game. Top 3 or 6 forwards still can call their own shots.

    • Crash

      100% agree with you. Yes, Penner doesn’t use his size to be physical, the sooner people realize that and start appreciating what he does bring, the better. But I agree with you also that he likely won’t be here after this contract runs out. Many of the fans and media alike I figure have done enough to run him right outta here.

      Not sure how much more people want from the guy…he gets called an underachiever but yet every year he seems to lead this team in one or more offensive categories and he consistently puts up good +/- numbers. He also uses his size to win corner battles. He consistently protects the puck, wins these battles and more often than not gets the puck to a teammate. He also uses his size by going to the front of the oppositions net. He is pretty much the only Oiler that consistently does this. For a big man he plays a high skill game. He’s a great passer and obviously has a good set of scoring hands. He also uses his long reach and stick in a defensive manner consistently. He moves quite well for a big man too. He’s never going to be a burner though, so get used to it. He has also been used approx 1 minute per game as a PKer too this year and has yet to be on the ice for a goal against.

      He is presently tied for the team lead in goals this year, last year he led them in points, goals and was the top +/- forward of those who played more than 50 games, the year before that with MacT reducing his minutes he was still 3rd in goals scored and tops for forwards in +/- and in his 1st year he led them in goals. He also doesn’t get injured. Not a bad resume to say the least.

      No player puts up these kinds of positive numbers consistently by accident. Penner is NOT nearly as bad as so many are making him out to be. If he is so bad, how does he manage to put up so many positive results year in and year out?

      I agree with you that he will receive another good contract and I agree with you that it won’t be here.

      He will successfully be run out of town… and congrats should then go out to fans and media on the achievement.

      • Chris.

        Most people agree that Penner is a really good quality hockey player. (I’m one of them)

        But the Oilers really, really, really, need a physically dominant power forward to play big minutes in their top six… Penner obviously has the physical tools to be that guy. Penner sometimes plays like that guy… The 4.25 million dollar question: Is Penner really going to be that guy we so desperately need on a consistant basis as we move forward with this rebuild..?.. Or is he simply a differnt kind of player altogether?

        • Crash

          I guess it all depends on each persons definition of being a physically dominant power forward….one thing Penner has never been is a mean in your face kind of power forward….I don’t know why people keep asking for something he has never been. He wasn’t that before he arrived and he hasn’t been that since he got here. So it’s not like he’s changed.

          I do think Penner uses his size in a physical way though. He fends off attackers when he goes into the corner with his strength…he wins puck battles and he goes to the front of the net and becomes very difficult to move.

          I think Penner would be just fine moving forward with this rebuild as we are going to need some vets to lead the way. But given the endless attacks he faces on what seems like a daily basis I’m pretty sure he is going to choose to move on. Because of this I’m more than sure that the Oilers will move him in a trade at some point.

          Penner is actually quite similar to one Jason Arnott, both in size, scoring ability and with about the same level of in your face play. Pretty much everyone ran Arnott out of here too.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Bring up Plante on defence . Rugged and dependable , and not to much flair for those of you that can’t handle too much excitement. Also , he is probably best one suited for future of Oilers . Omark doing his part to get a callup and if Oilers continue to brush him off they run the risk of him pulling a R.Nash down the line .

  • Crash

    Off topic somewhat . Coutourier(projected NO.1 draftee ) looked like nothing more than a lazy one way goal suck to me in match against Russians . Mind you i only caught last period of game . Anyone else care to comment on him if you seen the entire game ? I was not impressed at all with what i seen of him .

  • Quicksilver ballet

    While we’re on the topic of fossils, did i hear correctly that the Brownlee household grew by one this past week? Can’t remember where but i thought i overheard what i thought was the addition of a baby girl to the Brownlees. If so, Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Brownlee.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Geez Robin someone piss in your cornflakes?

    To attribute the difference in production between Hudler and Cogliano to Detroit being a better team, misses that Hudler is showing noticeable improvemet and Cogliano is not. Part of Coglianio’s prdouction was as the Oilers 2nd line with Nilsson and Gagner in 07. Hudler has never gotten 2nd line icetime in Detroit.

    I think it is clear, now, that Cogliano is not going to be in our top 6 forwards moving forward so maybe??? he should be measured off of the improvement to that standard. He has not improved alot in that area.

    Cogliano is an NHL caliber player, just not on a playoffs competing team unless he improves at the defensive side of the equation.

    • You got to my point with your last sentence: saying Cogliano isn’t a “real NHL player” is hyperbole, as the original poster has since admitted.

      And yes, a steady of diet of reading cherry-picking of facts, overstatement and vague generalizations does start to taste like piss on the cornflakes after you’ve read enough of it.

      GREGOR: I’m not even 80 yet, so back-the-F-off or I’ll cane you like you’ve never been caned.

  • Jason Gregor writes “I could care less about making the Oilers better this season.”

    Can we presume that Jason cares about the Oilers ? Yes I think so.

    He must be a “Tanker” . We need to be really bad in order to be better in the long run.

    I think this is a fallacy. I can’t think of any endeavour where mediocracy should be considered a reasonable goal. When the Oilers have all the pieces of the puzzle will they know how to win ? How does planned mediocrity change the losing culture that Oilers have had in the recent past.

    I am with Brownlee, the Oilers should manage their current team to maximize current success and manage the farm team to develop their assets responsibly while not doing a disservice to the fans in OKC.

    Tanking is no substitute for a good scouting staff and a player development program.

  • smiliegirl15

    Thank goodness for Robin – the voice of reason.

    I’m sure it will take Tambellini a few months to assess Omark’s progress in the A.~

    I don’t think Gregor has ever admitted to being a fan of the team. From listening to his show, I would think the Hurricanes are his team. Brass bonanza anyone?

  • positivebrontefan

    This entire episode has been some entertaining $h!t.

    I say if they are moving Cogs up and Brule to center throw him the frickin’ bone and let him up to the big show as a pat on the back.

    IMO.

    PS. is it true about the addition to the Brownlee family?
    If so Congrats.

    • I’m not sure where this addition to the family came from. It’s not true, but thanks for the sentiment.

      We’re all good with an an 18-year-old in university and a four-year-old in junior kindergarten, which pretty much put Freedom-55 out the window already. Another baby? I really would be writing until I’m 109 and Jason would be feeding me warm apple sauce on his show.

      • positivebrontefan

        Sorry Robin, somewhat misinformed by comment #83.

        I have a six and a four year old and we are at the point where if we have another… it’s now or never. That’s the only way I’ll have a chance at Freedom 55.

        Good article, though I agree with Gregor, no matter how much more credibility you have, I think we should tank another year, and from what I see so far that is what the Oil is doing.

  • PATIENCE NEEDED WITH WRITERS . There in a rebuild year and carrying Oiler line often clouds their own credibility at times . New bloggers outside the circle of writers often more credible with their comments than those trying to carry Oiler line and what Oilers want for public consumption . Bring it on new bloggers, as you’ll be just as credible, if not more so , as most others on this site .I wonder if they get paid for hits or comments on their articles ?

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I am really looking forward to some other Oilers getting Horcoff’s ice-time. I find people thinking that because of the politics of hockey (and the fact he is the highest paid player) he gets the most ice, that Horc is their best player. Or most ‘well rounded’ as I’ve heard it put.

    He’s not even close to being their best. Offensively his hands rival only that of Stortini. He should not be on the Oklahoma City PowerPlay, nevermind the Oilers. He is a 3rd line plug getting Datsyuk-like icetime and responsiblities. Finishing with a -29 last year and the 2nd worse faceoff % behind only Cogs should tell you he is bad in his own end, and in the dot. What’s left?

    Give Brule,Gagner,Cogs,Eberle,Hall,MPS and Penner a fair share of the responsiblities and watch them learn and thrive.

      • Cowbell_Feva

        Your right. I’m sure with your almighty Horcoff in the line-up, the Oilers would have won 7-1. Maybe his dominance in the faceoffs or his stellar offensive flair would have changed the outcome! Good grief man, get off the Edmonton media bandwagon and realize the guy is a plug. They (the media) couldn’t say anything wrong last year and he was -29 with 35 friggin’ PTS. Had that been Penner there would have been a witch hunt.

        He sure has made me look like a complete clown, getting carried by two kids in their first NHL season. “way to bank them off me kids- now if I could only hit an open net the media would really boost my reputation!”

        And to answer Team Pitlick, its not because he is the best man for the job, it is because they are paying him $5.5 million/year. If this is a “rebuild” why is the same old plug getting so much ice, and the kids have to painfully watch him fail??

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      So if he is as bad as you say he is, Cowbell Feva, why do NHL coaches feel he is the right man for those Datsyuk-like responsibilities? Is it because Mr. Horcoff is best friends with Mr. Katz and therefore gets to pull all the levers? “Hey DK, even though I suck at everything I want the coaches to a least make it look like I’m the best player on the team, OK?”

      Or is it because Horcoff is the man best-suited for those responsibilities? Pretty sure Renney has a grasp of what his players are capable of.