The Hack, Smack and Whack Attack…

By , December 10, 2009 10:40 am
Hack, Smack and Whack

Hack, Smack and Whack

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.

11 Responses to “The Hack, Smack and Whack Attack…”

  1. Horpensky says:

    Now, if history of Nilsson as a player has taught us anything, he is a very streaky player. Should we trade him now that his stock his high? Because I’m very afraid of him slumping again. If we’re gunning for the playoffs, we should be keeping him since he is probably our most skilled guy with Hemsky out and found some chemistry with Stone and Storts. But like I said, very very streaky. If he crashes, we’ll want to get rid of him, but we won’t be able to.

  2. Racki says:

    I don’t know, Comrie is a bit away yet, but he’s going to have to push someone out of the lineup. Ditto on Pisani, although who knows with him. And come playoff time, Hemsky may even be ready. So I’m not so sure Nilsson would be worth hanging on to for a playoff run.

    He is streaky, for sure, and I have no qualms right now about moving him in some way, even though he’s played well as of recently.

  3. Steve-O says:

    its all nilsson

    and he wasn’t streaky two years ago, he was good and not a single person i know complained about that extension he got

    maybe he just had a bad year and now he’s back

  4. Racki says:

    I can definitely say I was very happy about his contract. I still don’t think it’s *that* bad. It’s far from the team’s worst contract. I just don’t know if he brings enough to the table to push some of the other guys out of the line up. That’s all it’s about for me.

  5. chucker says:

    I’m a believer in not tinkering with things that are working. So for now, I wouldn’t trade Nilsson unless it was silly not to. We’ve been searching for a balanced attack for a long, long time. Quinn’s plan seems to have legs. If anything, I would advocate moving a D man to solidify the D with a nasty, stay at home D man like Racki has been suggesting for a long time.

    Comrie is a gap filler and a PR guy at the same time. He’ll come back and he’ll be a difference maker, but his job was really to turn the heat up on these three smurfs. So far it’s working. Bobby seems to have received the message that if he does not play in this fashion, he’s gone or waived or sent to the minors. He seems to have had the fear of motivation put back into him for now. Hopefully it lasts, but like Horp says, who knows for sure.

  6. Mr.Majestyk says:

    I like the idea of trading guys when their value is high, afterall, we want the best return we can get for our assets. All trades we make should be with the future in mind, both this season and beyond. It just has to be a move that makes sense for the team. So if the Oilers do not have Nilsson in the plans beyond this season then we should definitely move him during this season while he’s playing well…and hopefully we land something we are lacking in return(shutdown D man/faceoff specialist).

    I see this season as laying the foundation for the future success of the team. We are building a new identity this season. Once the groundwork is put together hopefully we see the team solidifying the weak points. I used to always use the term ‘plug and play’ when referring to teams like San Jose or Detroit, basically all the good teams. Seemed like anytime they got a player through trade, or brought someone up in the organization they looked like they fit right in. Everyone is on board with the system, everyone knows their role, they stick to the system and don’t abandon it if they fall behind by a goal.

    That was like my ‘I have a dream…’ speech. haha.

  7. mrgod2u says:

    My only problem with the “trade while value is high” idea is this. Sometimes a player is only streaky until they’re not anymore. What if, and I realize that this is based on past performance but, what if… Nillson has finally got his head on straight and this is the player he will be from now on… Same with Penner… Same with Brule… This is the first year for all of these guys under Quinn. New coach… new rules. If we trade any player doing well under Quinn we risk only ever having gotten the bad times and only barely getting any of the good. Plus there is no guarentee that the player (or pick) that we get back will 1.) work in our system, or 2.) be an upgrade… The old adage of a Bird in the hand and all that.

    Nilsson has not been a consistent player as an Oiler, the stats are there for that. But since he got serious ice time this season and started playing under Quinn he has been better. A LOT BETTER. Lets hang on to the players that are playing well for us.

  8. Mr.Majestyk says:

    I know what you mean mrgod, and I’m sure that is why we’ve held onto guys like Gags, Cogs and Nilsson over the last couple of years, its what we feel their upside is for the team. We’d all be pretty upset to see Nilsson go and then become a world class player but at the same time, I think its for the coaches and GM to evaluate the teams play and address our needs moving forward. Like Rob Schremp, some guys get caught in the shuffle where you have too many guys that bring the same thing to the table. From the start of the year with Nilsson a healthy scratch, it seems like he’s the odd man. He’s definitely been helping his cause in the last little bit, but its about consistency. Who knows though. Sometimes a coaching staff gets a long look at a player, say Andrew Cogliano, and in their estimation, he will never become an elite player, more of a Todd Marchant type. If they see Nilsson and Cogs as equal to the team right now, and they could get more for Cogs despite his value being lower based on recent scoring woes, who’s to say they don’t move Cogs and hold onto Nilsson?

  9. chucker says:

    I can see your point MM. Cogs is a guy that, quite honestly, I would not mind seeing moved. He seems to have lots of value and other GMs have shown interest, Reddox could fill his role easily and we have Pouliot coming back as well as Comrie soon.

    Something has to give here sooner or later. The nice thing, as you said, is it gives us a couple options to plug some holes.

    I totally agree with your Detroit/San Jose plug and play systems. New Jersey is another great example. The organization dictates the structure at both levels and the coaches add their nuances (?sp) to the formula. We need that here. The system on the farm should be the same as the system on the big club. That way it’s not such a huge challenge when coming in.

  10. Racki says:

    My only issue with Cogs is he doesn’t seem to fit in here right now. Its a shame though really, because I think he’s a pretty underrated player.

  11. gr8one says:

    The thing about Cogs is that he is avery good young player that is only going to get better, he’s one of the fastest players in the league, is good on the PK and has some offensive upside, not to mention a very good pedigree.

    I love Cogs, most fans do, but like Racki said, he just doesn’t seem to fit this team, and in order to get something good, you gotta give something good up…so yeah, if Cogliano were to be traded he will very likely go on to have a very long and successful career in the NHL, which is fine…as long as we get something good back.

    Same goes for Nilsson, but he’s even more expendable, and won’t get as much in return, and I totally agree with trading him while his “value is high” although I’m not convinced that his value is all that high, other GM’s aren’t stupid, and if we as fans know of his streakiness and the frustrations we all have of the flashes he shows only to disappear for extended periods of time, other GM’s will know this as well, and just look at it as one of his upswings, in order for his stock to go higher, he will have to maintain his level of play and be more consistent for a much longer period of time than a couple of weeks, and if he does that, everyone will want to keep him.

    I believe this team needs 3 things to become a contender,

    1) A physical shutdown D-man or two that make opposing forwards wary of being in our zone.

    2) A top six forward with size and physicality(Horton, Malone type)

    3) A good third line utility player that wins important faceoffs, #1 might take care of this need if that forward was a bona fide top six center, and than Horcoff can be used in the proper role here(yea, I’m aware he is paid too much to be a third liner, but I don’t care, forcing round pegs into square holes is a shitty way to run a team, and he should play where his skills are best suited, not where his salary dictates.

    and , I also think that this team has the assets to address those needs, while still keeping the other parts we need, without giving up our future.

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