Edmonton Oilers prospect Linus Omark recently had a chat with Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet to talk about his time in Oklahoma City Barons and what the future might hold for him.
Something that needs to be taken into account when reading this is that Aftonbladet is the largest tabloid in Sweden. It also writes by far the most crap and I doubt there is any paper that’s taken the expression “there’s no news like bad news” in as much as they have. They are rather known for their focus on the bad parts and trying to make something out of nothing. An example would be one of their latest articles, stating Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter had enough of his own alcoholic son, Brett Sutter, and got rid of him in a trade with Carolina Hurricanes. Well, that’s not exactly what happened now was it?
Article with Linus Omark below, read between the lines and you’ll soon figure out Omark is actually quite positive about his future, not being full of himself. He’s not at all sour – that’s just papers talking for him (and him not being able to express himself good enough when speaking English during interviews).
"We would get beaten by some Swedish teams"
Omark on the boring life in the AHL: “Obviously it’s not here you want to be”.
The dream was to play vs. NHL-stars such as Alexander Ovechkin and get to play in Edmonton.
Instead Linus Omark ended up in Oklahoma City Barons where the audience are lured coming using free turkey, fights but not to watch nice plays.
Welcome to the AHL – the league noone wants to play in, that goes for Omark as well.
Ticket sales have been so and so. Even though it’s newly renovated barely 3000 made it to the arena that houses 14000 and something had to be done. For the next game Oklahoma made up their mind: 1 dollar a beer.
Adding to that, all supporters were given a shot to win a 8.8 lbs turkey. All they had to do was to score on an empty net.
- Well yes, people tend to like beer around here, Omark smiles.
How the people feel about turkey remains unsaid but it’s clear the difference between the NHL and the AHL is more then just a letter. He wanted to play in the NHL and he hoped to be playing for Edmonton.
He ended up playing in the AHL and for Oklahoma. Instead of battling it out with Toronto and Montreal he’s playing the San Antonio Rampage and Rockford Ice Hogs.
Didn’t know anything
- I hardly knew anything about Oklahoma except that it was the location of the Edmonton AHL affiliate. I googled some information before I left.
A couple of weeks later he knows this; the hockey should be played as easy as possible:
- The game (over here) is a lot stricter then at home or in Russia. They want you to dump the puck into the zone at all times. Here you can play a really simple game and be successful just doing that. I guess you could say we would get beaten by a Swedish team on a big rink.
The game schedule can sometimes be a nightmare:
- We’ve played ten games in fifteen days, once we played three different games in the same amount of days and there are is lot of travelling.
Everyone has the same target: leaving the AHL as quickly as possible.
- Obviously, this is not where I wanted to be. I’m not satisfied being here but you have to accept it and not be depressed about it.
While waiting on the call from Edmonton the only thing he can do is doing his best. So far with great success, recently with five goals in a game and a AHL player of the week award.
Well defined roles
I just continue playing the way I do. Obviously I want to play in the NHL and the positive is that I’m getting used to how things work by playing down here. There are very clear, well defined roles in who’s doing what around here (referring to how it’s different from Sweden and the KHL), some are supposed to fight and others play box play. Mine is to score points.
You’re seen as the player who makes nice plays. How often do you get challenged to fight during games?
- Well, it happens. But I’m not a fighter and I don’t fight. But sometimes there can be up to five fights a game.
How much do you follow Edmonton playing?
- Sure I check if they’ve won and if they would call I’d be really, really happy. But my focus for now has to remain here (and on Oklahoma). What I’m missing the most right now is interest in the team and playing in front of a big crowd.
Have you set yourself a deadline?
- I can see myself staying here for a whole season. I got no plans going home, I want to give this an honest shot.
Next week he’s playing two games on the road on the same amount of days vs. Lake Erie Monsters, 1700 kilometres (1 056.33103 miles) away from Oklahoma.
And yes, how about the ticket sales and the turkeys?
Well, there where just 3600 people there, but at least they got to see a Oklahoma win vs. Chicago.
Time will tell when the call arrives, but one things is for sure – it will come. And Oklahoma – enjoy Omark while he’s there folks! Obviously he wants more of you to show up to their games. And hey, don’t focus on the “we would get beaten by some Swedish teams on a big rink”-thing. Because as we’re all a where of, Swedish teams would get whooped by OKC Barons any given day on a small dito but that’s nothing this tabloid would ever mention..