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Ex-Sabre Omark on declining demotion to Amerks: 'The team wouldn't have got anything from me'

By John Vogl

Linus Omark didn’t do much in Buffalo. He made it clear to the Sabres he would have done even less in Rochester.

The forward, who had his contract terminated by the Sabres on Tuesday, signed with Lulea of the Swedish elite league today. He’s packing up in Buffalo before heading back to his homeland.

The Sabres made the easy decision to get rid of Omark after he failed to report to the Rochester Americans.

“I was clear all the time that I didn’t want to play in the AHL, that it wouldn’t be good for both me and Rochester,” Omark told Swedish newspaper NSD, which provided an English translation to The News. “The team wouldn’t have got anything from me. They understand that as well, so they let me go to Europe instead.”

The Sabres acquired Omark from Edmonton in December after he told the Oilers he would rather play in his homeland than for their minor-league club. Omark put up 14 goals and 29 points in 29 games with Oklahoma City, so the Sabres took a chance that his skills would translate to the NHL.

Omark had no goals and two assists in 13 games with the Sabres and became a regular scratch. Because he failed to play 15 games, the Sabres do not have to give up the conditional sixth-round pick they offered the Oilers.

“My goal for this season was to be able to play in the NHL, so when I finally got the chance to play in Buffalo I was very happy,” Omark told NSD. “Then you can say that I didn’t take the chance.”

Nothing new with Sabres' Omark, who wants to play in Sweden

By John Vogl

Linus Omark remains AWOL, with no word from the Sabres today on their plan for the winger who has not accepted his demotion to Rochester.

Omark previously stated a desire to play in his homeland of Sweden rather than the minor leagues, and NSD newspaper in Sweden said today the 27-year-old is trying to sign with Lulea. Omark played for the club in the Swedish elite league from 2005 to 2009.

Omark's agent told The News on Thursday night that he hopes to find a resolution in the next few days. Due to transfer agreements, Omark cannot play overseas without the Sabres' consent.

Omark fails to report to Amerks after being waived by Sabres

673799 Sabres scull 07
Linus Omark was waived by the Sabres last week. (Photo by Harry Scull Jr.)

 

By John Vogl

Linus Omark, waived by the Sabres last week and assigned to Rochester, has not reported to the Amerks, The News has learned.

Rochester held its first post-All-Star break practice this evening, and Omark did not join the team. The forward was expected to be present after clearing waivers Saturday.

The 27-year-old is on an Olympic vacation and not in the United States, agent Kevin Epp told The News by phone. The Swede previously said he would rather play in his homeland than the minor leagues.

"I’m not really sure what the exact next steps are," Epp said, "just trying to figure out where he can go, where they can reassign him, where they want to have him, where he’s going to be best-suited for them and their situation."

Omark, acquired from Edmonton in December for a conditional sixth-round draft pick, spent 29 games with the Oilers' American Hockey League affiliate this season. He put up 14 goals and 29 points but told the organization he had no desire to spend the season in the minors and planned to return to Sweden. Faced with a Christmas deadline, the Oilers traded him to Buffalo.

Omark failed to score and totaled just two assists in 13 games with the Sabres. He was a regular scratch the past few weeks.

If Omark's wish is to play in Sweden, the Sabres could assign to him a European team. Due to transfer agreements, he cannot play without their consent.

"There’s a chance they could assign him there," said Epp, who hopes to have a resolution in the next few days. "There’s a chance he’ll still report to Rochester and a chance they’ll have him back in Buffalo. Who knows right now? It’s kind of up in the air."

Omark waived prior to roster freeze; Ruhwedel, Varone sent to Amerks during break

By Mike Harrington

The Sabres, like all NHL teams, will have their roster frozen for the Olympics today at 3 p.m. No trades as of this writing, but the team has tweeted three roster moves.

The biggest is the waiving of winger Linus Omark, who showed basically nothing since being acquired from Edmonton for a conditional sixth-round pick. But he sure had a way of getting people to constantly email or tweet me wondering why he wasn't playing more. He wasn't on the ice more because he's not an NHL player.

Omark had no goals and two assists in 13 games and was in and out of the lineup. He was a healthy scratch eight times, including last night's game in Ottawa. Maybe he can help in Rochester if he clears but that's about all.

Speaking of the Amerks, the Sabres have returned defenseman Chad Ruhwedel and forward Phil Varone to the AHL for the Olympic break. You would imagine they would be in the lineup tomorrow night at 7 when the Amerks meet Grand Rapids in First Niagara Center.

Sabres' Stafford ready to return, Omark to get chance against former team

By John Vogl

Coming off their most lopsided loss of the year, the Sabres will make a couple of lineup changes.

Forwards Drew Stafford and Linus Omark are in line to play Monday when Buffalo hosts Edmonton. Stafford has missed four games with an injury while Omark was a healthy scratch for the last three, including Saturday's 7-1 loss in Colorado.

Stafford had three goals and five points in four games before getting hurt Jan. 25 against Columbus.

"He looks like he’s ready to go, so hopefully he can resume where he left off," coach Ted Nolan told reporters today in First Niagara Center.

The Sabres acquired Omark from Edmonton for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in December. He hasn't found a home, putting up just two assists in 11 games. Nolan scratched the winger in six of the last eight games.

He practiced today on the top line with Stafford and center Tyler Ennis, but Nolan said that's not necessarily where he'll play.

"So far it hasn’t worked out too well, but maybe this time it will," Nolan said. "We want to see what everybody thought he was capable of doing when they drafted him and he came in this league. He’s a highly skilled player, but as we know skill can only get you so far.

"We want to see him play with a little more grit combined with that skill set."

Ville Leino and Marcus Foligno skated as extras during line work today, which puts them in line for possible benchings.

Nolan looking for more from Omark in second game with Sabres

By John Vogl

TORONTO -- Ted Nolan is willing to cut Linus Omark some slack for his subpar debut with the Sabres. Omark played against Boston on Saturday without the benefit of a practice after getting acquired from Edmonton, and he missed Monday's meeting with Phoenix due to the flu.

Nolan won't give the forward any extra rope starting with tonight's game in Toronto.

"We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt the first time with jetlag and getting to a new team and having the flu," Nolan said in Air Canada Centre. "But after this, he’s got to play with a lot more energy."

Omark (who said his first name is pronounced "Lean-us") took an early penalty and was minus-1 in 12:57 of ice time against the Bruins while playing a fourth-line role. He'll skate alongside center Ville Leino and wing Marcus Foligno tonight. All three players missed the Phoenix game because of illness.

"Hopefully, I can stay healthy now and go from here," said Omark, who finally got a chance to practice with the team today. "I’ve got to work hard. When the chance comes, I’m going to take it. I can just work harder. I had a bad start. Now I’ve been sick, and I’ll keep going for now."

Cody Hodgson will miss his third straight game with a wrist injury, while center Johan Larsson has been sent back to Rochester. Alexander Sulzer will be the healthy scratch on defense. John Scott will be in the lineup and could get power-play time again.

"A lot of power-play goals, it’s just shooting at the net and creating a screen," Nolan said. "There’s no bigger guy that we have on this team."

Ryan Miller will start in goal for the Sabres, while Jonathan Bernier will be in net for the Leafs.

"I’m excited to play," Omark said. "Hopefully. I can start this game good. We’ll see."

Ted Nolan

Linus Omark

Sabres' acquire Omark from Oilers for conditional sixth-round pick

By John Vogl

There's action on the ice and in the front office for the Buffalo Sabres, who made a trade during their game against the Boston Bruins.

The Sabres have acquired disgruntled forward Linus Omark from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick. Omark reportedly asked for a trade after spending all but one game this season with the Oilers' AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.

Omark had 14 goals and 29 points in 29 games with the Barons.

Originally a fourth-round pick in 2007, Omark has eight goals and 30 points in 66 NHL games. The 26-year-old is 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds.

 

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl | jvogl@buffnews.com

About Sabres Edge


Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington | mharrington@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

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