In the “most entertaining shootout” contest at the 2016 KHL All-Star Game in Moscow, Linus Omark decided to fire up his stick. Literally. Unfortunately for him and for Team East, his attempt wasn’t successful. However, the judge still decided to award him with the best attempt, getting a point for his team in the “Master Show”. Team East won the Master Show for the first time since the KHL creation. Team West got the first two points winning the fastest skater (the faster skater overall was Helsinki Jokerit Brandon Kuzun) and the hardest shot relays (with former NHL defenseman Milan Jurcina). Team East, however, scored three points with Linus Omark’s shooutout, the breakaway relay, and the “fastest skating team” relay.
“It was an idea of my teammate [Traktor Chelyabinsk Belarusian defenseman] Vladimir Denisov”, Omark told championat.ru after the Master Show. “He gave me his stick. It was all really hot. I never seen such a fire on a stick. Scoring would have been very hard, so it’s not too bad that I didn’t score. At least I tried.”
In the latest few years the KHL already had some interesting shootout attempts, like the Vladimir Tarasenko string trick shot at the 2012 All-Star game in Riga or Nikita Gusev’s goal last year in Sochi. Both goals have had a large success on YouTube: Tarasenko’s shootout has more than 2,800,000 views, while Gusev’s one surpassed five millions views. It’s easy to imagine that Omark’s shootout will bring the KHL a good amount of views as well.
The Overtornea, Sweden, native Linus Omark is having a great season in the KHL with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, being one of the top scorers with a point-per-game pace. Last summer he signed with the Eastern Conference team a two-year deal, after spending the 2014-15 with Helsinki Jokerit. In spite of his great puck skills, he never managed to have an impact in the NHL, appearing in only 79 regular season games, scoring 32 points with the Edmonton Oilers and the Buffalo Sabres. He had a higher level of success in his native Sweden, in Switzerland, and in the KHL, where he is at his third season, after spending the 2009-10 season playing for Dynamo Moscow and last year in Helsinki. Other than that, he was a successful player at the AHL level, scoring about one point per game. He was a fourth round pick for the Oilers at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, where he was selected with the 97th overall pick.
A professional hockey writer and translator. Loves Russian culture, language, and hockey. Reachable on twitter @AlexSerenRosso