With Ryan Stone in the line up, the Oilers are currently 9-2-1. Now obviously, Ryan Stone isn’t that big of a difference maker to think that he alone is lifting this team to the cup. But with all of our size players (Penner, Stone, Stortini, JFJ, Moreau) in the line up, Quinn is able to stick to the original game plan of putting a big guy or two with every small skill player we have to open up ice for them.
The newest incarnation of size with skill comes in the form of a line that Pat Quinn has dubbed “Hack, Smack and Whack” – Nilsson, Stortini and Stone. Now I’m going to be a bit presumptuous and guess which is which, as labelled in the picture. But who the hell knows how to decode what this old Irishman is saying half the time. All I know is that he’s right in saying that these guys are doing quite well with the minutes given to them.
In the four games that he’s been back from injury, Stone has 2 assists and is +5, and has a fight (in which he won against Downie)… all this while averaging just 7.5 minutes per game in that stretch. Nilsson has 1 goal and 3 assists and is a +5 as well in that time frame, averaging about 12.5 minutes per game. Stortini has 1 goal and 2 assists and is also +5, with a couple of broo-ha-has in there, averaging about 8.5 minutes per game.
These guys are flying high since being put together, and have been significant in this team’s success in the last 4 games. “They’ve been our best line two or three nights,” said Pat Quinn. “They don’t get the ice time, but when they’re out there they’re effective every shift. They were able to outplay the opposition regardless. For a long time it was against their fourth line, but after a while I was leaving them out against anybody.”
Anyways, it looks like I’m back on the upward swing of my Oilercoaster ride, in one sense. Obviously this team still has holes (namely defense), and they haven’t been challenged that much on this road trip, but its good to see that this team is effective when Quinn is able to stick to his original game plan. It’s all about getting secondary scoring. You can’t shut them all down. “Hack, Smack and Whack” add at least one more danger to the other team’s defense… both physically and on the scoresheet.