Quinn shakes up Oilers lines

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 2:50 PM ET

With Mike Comrie and Lubomir Visnovsky out with the flu, and his offence looking even more sickly, head coach pat Quinn pulled out the dreaded blender this morning.

He threw all the forwards in, hit puree, and came out with an entirely different look for tonight's game with the Detroit Red Wings.

What is old is new again as Shawn Horcoff is back on the first line with Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky, replacing Sam Gagner, who is being reunited with the Kid Line.

"I wanted to put Mike with Horcoff (and O'Sullivan), but that's not going to happen so I decided to rebalance the whole bunch," said Quinn. "Next thing I know I decided to change every line.

"Let's see if we can get off the lack of scoring."

The Oilers, shut out in two consecutive games, haven't scored a goal in seven periods and haven't scored an even strength goal in 10.

So, no, Quinn isn't hesitating to shake things up.

"You don't like to go two full games without scoring, that surprises me," he said, adding it would really help matters if Gagner, Andrew Cogliano and Robert Nilsson, who've had brilliant chemistry in the past, found some again.

"I'm aware that they had 10 games, maybe a bit longer, of pretty good luck scoring wise - this was two years ago - so I told them we're going to re-try that unit in an effort to get some balance in our lineup."

He's also hoping Hemsky and Penner can jump-start the struggling Horcoff.

"The idea is to see if we can help him get some more ice," said Quinn. "He feels like he's getting his scoring opportunities but nothing is going in for him. But neither are any assists happening, either.

"I played him with O'Sullivan, who we're hoping would be a scorer, but he's been cold, he's not shooting well, missing the net a lot. At the end of the night you look and he's got four or five scoring opportunities but there's no finish.

"So in a way (Horcoff's) been bitten point-wise by the lack of success of the people he's playing with."

Quinn bristled when asked if Horcoff might become a cooler and bring down Hemsky and Penner.

"I'm not worried about him going back in and screwing up two other guys, though."

Defenceman Steve Staios, who's missed nine of the last 10 games with a concussion, felt well enough to take the morning skate but remains a long way from coming back.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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