SUN Hockey Pool

Omark's spin put the game at risk

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:26 PM ET

Wow. Great play, that spinnerama at the blue-line. Took a lot of guts, garnered a lot of attention, showed the world that the Edmonton Oilers are brash, talented and coming on strong.

Sweet.

Don't do it again.

That might be the subtle message that Tom Renney and Linus Omark's Edmonton Oilers teammates passed along a day after the hot dog hit the fan at Rexall Place.

The Spin Doctor is being celebrated in some corners and carved in others for a gratuitous twirl en route to his shootout winner against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Renney continues to stand by his guy, but admits there might be a better way to storm in on a goalie. Teammates said it's probably best if this was a one-off thing.

"You want him to play his game. I can't restrict him from being creative," said Renney. "Just respect the league, respect your opponent, do what you do best."

Renney knew something was coming when he picked Omark to shoot third.

"I wasn't sure what it was going to be," he said, adding he held his breath a little when Omark started spinning. "I thought, just score and we'll deal with the rest later."

The troublesome issue, of course, isn't whether or not he showed up the Lightning or crossed some sort of imaginary code of conduct. If a guy wants to be a showboat, that's his prerogative.

It's that he risked the game trying to draw attention to himself.

After 65 minutes of hockey and a hurried flood, the ice is full of ruts, bumps, holes and puddles of water. Skilled players lose control of the puck going in a straight line all the time. Throwing a gratuitous 360 at the blue-line is adding a significant risk for no good reason.

Distracting the goalie? Please. Spinning 70 feet from the net has no effect.

Anything a player does to try and beat a goalie is fair game. Anything. Trying to score on a spinnerama at the crease is fine, Omark's flip move is fine. By all means use your guts and your skill and your creativity to do whatever it takes to get a goal.

This had nothing to do with scoring. This was putting the game at risk in order to be the centre of attention. Dangerously close to being selfish.

"Of course it's bad if it doesn't work," said Omark. "I just did it. I scored. I'm happy for that. I was helping the team win."

It had the desired effect. Omark was doing TV interviews all the way back to Sweden and the internet was going crazy after what was actually the second best goal of the shootout (after Jordan Eberle's). But he doesn't plan on making the spin a regular thing.

"No ... I don't know," he said. "Sometimes I do something, sometimes not."

Aside from the spin, Omark's overall game earned a passing grade.

"Early, he was just OK, so so," said Tom Renney. "Then as the game went on I thought he got better. On the power play coming off the half wall he made a cute little move there, a little deception that set up a rebound for Gibby. It shows that he has vision and he's got the guts to do things like that. That's important. He's not afraid of anything.

"I think it's really early to make a determination where this ends up for him, but good first game."

Twitter.com/TYCHKOWSKI

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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