OKC Barons: Barons forward Linus Omark continues to work on all-around game

Omark can provide razzle dazzle on the offensive end, but to return to the NHL, he must improve his all-around game, especially on defense.
by Michael Baldwin Published: October 14, 2013
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Dangle is hockey parlance for razzle dazzle, a player with exceptional stick handling skills.

Oklahoma City Barons forward Linus Omark is a dangler. Two Omark goals are YouTube sensations. But to return to the NHL, Omark must improve his all-around game, specifically the defensive end.

Omark gained attention internationally in March 2009 during Sweden's “friendly” game with Switzerland. In a shoot-out, Omark pulled the puck back, then flipped it over the Swiss goalie.

>>Watch a YouTube video of a most amazing shootout by Linus Omark

His fame soared in his NHL debut three years ago with the Edmonton Oilers. In a December 2010 shoot-out win over Tampa Bay, Omark unveiled a spin-o-rama move near the goal crease and slapping the game-winner between Tampa Bay goalie Dan Ellis' legs.

“He certainly has that creativity,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “He has that mindset, but he has the skill set to back it up. He'll do things not a lot of guys can do. He can definitely dangle. He has so many options when a goalie goes down the goalie doesn't know what to do.”

When the Barons host the Texas Stars at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Cox Convention Center, Omark at any moment is capable of providing a memorable highlight.

Now age 26, this is a pivotal season for Omark, who was cut by Edmonton. It was a mild surprise that an NHL team didn't grab him when he was exposed to waivers. As a result, he's back in Oklahoma City where he played in 46 games with the Barons their first two seasons.

“He has to show he can play on both ends of the ice,” Nelson said. “That's true first and foremost for every player, playing away from the puck. You make a mistake here (in the AHL), you get away with it every once in a while. You make a mistake up there (in the NHL), they'll expose you.”

Slightly undersized at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, Omark was erratic in 65 games his two seasons with the Oilers. He sometimes was labeled a player who doesn't always play within the system.

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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