"It's embarrassing for him…It's not a very classy thing. That's just the kind of person he is." - Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis. (St. Pete Times) via Michael Traikos Twitter.No question, the talk of Edmonton right now is the shootout goal above by Swedish rookie Linus Omark, the eventual winner against Tampa Bay in what was a memorable NHL debut.
When the Oilers and Lightning went into overtime I found myself really hoping that no one would score. Then, as the shootout started and Jordan Eberle scored a dandy to put the Oilers ahead and Taylor Hall was preparing for his shot, I told the group I was watching with "I hope he doesn't score... I want to see Omark".
I bet I wasn't alone in that. after seeing what he'd done over the last couple of seasons on various shootouts, penalty shots and breakaways... how could you not be drawn by the scene that was unfolding? Would he be conventional or would Omark throw caution to the wind and pull off a stunt in the his first NHL game? He certainly didn't disappoint the home crowd but back in the Tampa Bay room, several Lighting players were "irate" over what they felt was a disrespectful slap in the face.
Dean Millard was in the room and got reaction from players like Victor Hedman (listen to TPS on Saturday for the full story) and was witness to the response by Bolts players.
You're going to fall into one of two categories; you'll either think there was nothing wrong with it or you'll side with Tampa and feel it's showboating that doesn't belong in the game.
I think those in the latter group will find themselves in the vast minority already and even more so as time goes on. Afterall, is what Omark did on Friday really so controversial? He spun in the neutral zone, then faked a shot and beat the goalie with a shot through the 5-hole.
It's excessively cheeky, make no mistake about it. But is it more so than anything in this reel:
It's interesting to note that Martin St. Louis, one of the players apparently bent out of shape over Omark's goal, is in the video above with his own unorthodox shootout attempt.
For me, the bottom line is this: the shootout is an opportunity that begs for creativity and if the player is successful, the artistry will be applauded by the vast majority of fans. If the player is unsuccessful, the player faces the embarrassment of returning to the bench and facing his teammates and coach after an attempted stunt.
What's with the fun police these days? Is it so wrong to want to be entertaining? I don't see what Tampa Bay should feel offended about here. It's not like Omark taunted the bench afterward, it's not like he played to the fans. Consider what the reaction would have been if he'd lost control of the puck before the blueline during his spin-a-rama... that's a risk not many players would be willing to take. Omark did, and I have no problem with it.
Hell, it's practically a recreation of the epic scene from Youngblood: