Linus Omark has been waiting for his opportunity to get back into the Buffalo Sabres lineup. It may come Tuesday night against the Florida Panthers.
Omark skated on the second line with center Cody Hodgson and left wing Steve Ott at practice Monday morning at First Niagara Center. He’s been a healthy scratch the past two games and is looking for his first goal of the season. In nine games with the Sabres, he has one assist.
“Both Cody and Ott are really good players, so then I have to produce,” he said. “It’s an opportunity if I’m going to play with those guys.” WATCH: LINUS OMARK INTERVIEW
He wasn’t sure if he’ll be in the lineup against Panthers but is working with the mindset that he will be.
“Of course you always want to play but we’ll see what happens now if I’m going to play next game or not," he said. "I have tried to work hard in practice and off-ice, so I’m prepared if I play.”
Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said he’ll make a decision on the roster after the team’s morning skate on Tuesday.
“We’ll give it another day to think about but I liked the way [Omark] practiced today,” he said.
GREAT SEATS STILL AVAILABLE FOR TUESDAY VS. FLORIDA
Ville Leino, who played with Hodgson and Ott on Saturday, practiced at right wing on the fourth line with John Scott and Matt Ellis.
“We’re looking for people that want to compete and want to work. It doesn’t matter what your skill level [is]. Skill is nothing with no will,” Nolan said. “So we have to get [Leino] competing at a certain level and some days he shows it and some days he doesn’t.”
Henrik Tallinder and Kevin Porter are closer to returning. Tallinder’s been out since New Year’s Eve with an upper-body injury while Porter has missed 11 games with a lower-body injury.
“Tallidner is pretty close so he’ll probably be a game-time decision,” Nolan said.
Porter said he’s feeling better every day and didn’t rule out the possibility of being ready for Florida.
“Hopefully in the next couple days,” he said. “I’m not sure. I still need to talk to the training staff and the coaches and see what they say.”
WATCH: KEVIN PORTER INTERVIEW
The practice on Monday marked his first time skating with the team in a regular jersey. He’d been skating in a red jersey, signaling no contact.
Porter practiced with Zenon Konopka as extra forwards. Konopka has committed three minor penalties in the past three games and the opposing power play has scored each time Konopka has been in the box. He’ll likely be a healthy scratch against the Panthers.
WATCH: TED NOLAN PRESS CONFERENCE
“He’s going to have to wait. If you’re going to change things, it can’t just be for a chosen few. It has to be for everybody and those penalties, they could be avoided,” Nolan said. “We can’t afford to take bad penalties. We can’t afford to [make] too many turnovers in a game. They’re going to kill us every time.
So in order for us to show the young guys what it takes to try to win on a consistent basis, those are the types of things we have to do.”
Five Sabres players had their heads shaved after practice in the First Niagara Center atrium as part of the “Goin’ Bald For Bucks” campaign. The players are raising money to support critical research and cancer care programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. They were surrounded by students from several schools in the area.
Cody Hodgson, who had his head shaved by goaltender Ryan Miller, will match every dollar donated to the Sabres “Goin’ Bald For Bucks” page. He also grew his hair out for about a month in anticipation of the event.
“I was going to get it cut within that week and then they asked, and I was like, ‘It would be much better if I let it grow a little bit,’” he said afterward. “That’s actually the longest my hair’s ever been. It feels kind of weird, really airy without it. It’ll probably look better though than that big afro.”
Hodgson said that Mike Weber was the first player to commit to shaving his head and he agreed soon after. Mark Pysyk, Brayden McNabb and Alexander Sulzer also had their heads shaved. Miller, Steve Ott, Brian Flynn, Drew Stafford and John Scott played the role of barbers.
Donations can be made at BaldForBucks.org. The Sabres donation page can be found here. Donations will be accepted on the website through Friday.
26 Matt Moulson – 63 Tyler Ennis – 21 Drew Stafford
9 Steve Ott – 19 Cody Hodgson – 17 Linus Omark
82 Marcus Foligno – 65 Brian Flynn – 28 Zemgus Girgensons
32 John Scott – 37 Matt Ellis – 23 Ville Leino
12 Kevin Porter – 24 Zenon Konopka
Red Non-Contact: 8 Cody McCormick
10 Christian Ehrhoff – 3 Mark Pysyk
6 Mike Weber – 57 Tyler Myers
44 Brayden McNabb – 4 Jamie McBain
20 Henrik Tallinder – 52 Alexander Sulzer .
30 Ryan Miller
1 Jhonas Enroth