Omark a healthy scratch

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

EDMONTON - If they’re going to renovate Rexall Place, they should start with a spiral staircase to the press box.

It might make Linus Omark feel a little more at home when he watches the Edmonton Oilers host the Colorado Avalanche.

The Spinnerama Kid will sit out Thursday’s game, the first time in about four seasons, according to the 23-year-old’s memory, that he’s been a healthy scratch.

“You always want to play, but it’s nothing to worry about,” said Omark, who didn’t see a lot of ice time Tuesday after a costly second-period giveaway against Buffalo.

Despite having time and space to move the puck in the neutral zone, Omark didn’t like his options and chose instead to coast back into Oilers territory by himself - the ensuing turnover led to Buffalo’s second goal.

“It wasn’t the first time that happened,” said head coach Tom Renney. “There’s a bit of a tendency there from a player who loves the puck and doesn’t want to relinquish it, who wants to manufacture more than what the circumstance will allow, and that’s noble, but it’s also wrong.”

Omark has five points in eight games, but three of those points came in one night, leaving two assists over the other seven starts. The offence will come, it’s not creating scoring chances in Edmonton’s end of the ice that will take some learning.

“(Getting scratched) is just another opportunity to get his head around the way we’re trying to play,” said Renney. “It’s not like he’s not trying to do that. This is not purgatory, it’s the development of a young player.

“I don’t want to change him, I want to help with his decision making — what to do when those options are closed down.”

Omark arrived in Edmonton with major fanfare, which reached 11 on the dial when he did the neutral zone spinnerama on a shootout try in his first game, but he’s still a 23-year-old rookie who’s going through the usual rookie adjustments.

“Some games, pretty good,” he said. “When I do something good I have confidence that I can do pretty well up here. But some games you think just don’t make mistakes, and then you do.”

The toughest part, he said, is having to sit on the bench as a third liner, champing at the bit to get out there, then proceeding to try and do too much when you are.

“It doesn’t matter what league it is, when you don’t play for a long time you want to come in and do so much, and everything goes wrong,” he said. “If there’s a lot of penalties (and you’re getting cold on the bench) you want to so much to get in.”

At least he’s still in the NHL, though.

“That’s positive,” he smiled.

Follow me at Twitter.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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