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What’s My Age Again?

January 9, 2010
Oh, this is what I look like!

Oh, this is what I look like!

Ryan Stone made two wonderful hockey plays the other night against Columbus that resulted in goals. The first broke up two Blue Jacket’s D-men that were attempting to make a D to D pass by taping the puck to a half-dead pigeon. Regardless of the ineptitude of the Western Conference’s 14th placed team, Stone made a nice read to force the issue and work the puck to Fernando Pisani, who took care of the rest with a shelfish play on Mathieu Garon.

I’m guessing that this is the type of play Pat Quinn longs for when he talks about his team’s lack of system knowledge. Systems should be easy to learn at this stage in someone’s career, but it’s another thing to keep your stick on the ice, skate the proper angle between two defenders, and have the determination to make something happen. Ryan Stone did exactly that to set up Pisani for a well-deserved score-point.

Stone also hooked up Sam Gagner via Denis Grebeshkov later in the game. The first-year Oiler cut into the zone with a couple defenders all over him, delayed towards the boards and sent a hard seam pass to Grebeshkov in the slot. When Grebeshkov is in front of the other team’s net, as opposed to his own, he usually makes a smart, if not brilliant play, and this occasion didn’t dissapoint. Instead of shooting from point blank range, he twisted his upper body with a tremendous display of skill and sent the puck to wide-open Sam Gagner for the empty net goal. All three deserved credit on the play, but I wonder what would have happened if Stone would have mis-fired on the original pass. Grebeshkov was already in the slot, so I’m guessing a two-on-one the other way would have turned the tables that much more quickly for the Oilers.

In any event, Stone didn’t mis-fire, and neither did Grebeshkov or Gagner. Stone started the play, and looked poised and mature with the puck while doing it. He looks older than he is, and he seemed, on this night at least, to make others around him better.

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