They all took it hard.
No hockey player wants to come this close to the opening of the regular season and be told they were just not good enough.
On Monday, eight players received a phone call letting them know the coaching staff wanted to talk to them.
It’s the type of call no player wants to answer.
“The call came at 8:30 this morning and I was already awake,” said Ryan O’Marra, one of eight players cut by the club on Monday. “I haven’t been sleeping much the past three days. I knew the call was coming between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., so I woke up at 8 a.m., I waited around hoping it didn’t come, but then it did.
“It was kind of paralyzing at first, I didn’t say anything, I couldn’t really speak.”
O’Marra, 23, a former first-round pick of the New York Islanders, acquired in the Ryan Smyth trade three years ago, had his best camp to date with the Oilers.
However, there simply wasn’t a spot for him on the roster.
Nor was there one for Linus Omark, who was sour about having to go to Oklahoma City having come over from Sweden to try and make the team.
“It’s a little bit different here,” Omark said. “There is a lot of politics here. All I can do now is just play my game and hopefully I can come back here.”
Omark, 23, who became a YouTube sensation with a shootout goal a couple of years ago, had no comment when asked if he was given a fair opportunity in training camp.
“It’s a tough day, everyone that’s here aspires to be the NHL,” said Oilershead coach Tom Renney. “He can comment however he chooses, I have no troublewith that whatsoever. It’s an emotional time, he believes he’s an NHL player and that’s good for him.”
— Van Diest