March 31, 2009
If you're a golf or soccer fan, you're aware of the beauty of a chip shot.
In soccer, it's a slow, deceptive shot or pass used to outsmart an opponent's defense. In golf, it's a shot that helps get you out of the sand trap, deep rough or away from pesky gophers. The chip shot flutters in the air, almost slowing time down, and is always effective.
One would think with the elimination of the two-line pass in hockey, that we would see the chip more often. Atlanta's Eric Perrin attempt in a game last month against Edmonton was successful when he found Marty Reasoner on the other end.
But what about using it as an actual shot? Case and point: Sweden's Linus Omark who, in a warm-up match for the upcoming IIHF World Championships, made Swiss Marco Bührer look silly with a little help from the crossbar.
If only Inter Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic could switch sports, we'd see the chip take over hockey.
Omark, who was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the fourth-round of the 2007 NHL Draft, is currently playing for Lulea in the Swedish Elite League. Oilers assistant General Manager Kevin Prendergast would like to bring Omark to North America; but recently an unnamed KHL club threw a large offer his way, which has thrown a monkey wrench into the Edmonton's plans.
Predergast has stated that he does not plan to get into a bidding war with clubs trying to pry Omark away. Despite his small frame (5-9, 170 lbs.), Omark has the skills to play in the NHL according to Prendergast: "There's nothing wrong with this kid, other than being small... something we have a lot of, but he's gritty. He's a much better version of Patrick Thoresen."
That sound you hear is the "Patrick Thoresen Fan Club" putting on their Nutty-Buddy's and cranking out letters.
The 2009 IIHF World Championships kick off in Switzerland beginning April 24 with Sweden playing out of Group C with the United States.