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Lowetide
October 07 2013 05:01PM

We're just getting started for the 2013-14 season, but there are already some very good signs for 1st round selection Darnell Nurse. He's 'as advertised' as a defenseman, but this year Nurse looked to be a much bigger part of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds powerplay. 5 games into his season, the results are already obvious.

OFFENSE

Last season, Nurse played on a very deep hockey club with two established PP defenders (Ryan Sproul 20-46-66 and Colin Miller 20-35-55), but this year he's moved up the batting order and is getting a regular turn 5x4. Although it's extremely early, we can see him getting used differently this season:

2013-14 DARNELL NURSE OFFENSE

  • EV 5, 0-1-1 .200
  • PP 5, 1-2-3 .600
  • PK 5, 0-1-1 .200

2012-13 DARNELL NURSE OFFENSE

  • EV 68, 10-17-27 .397
  • PP 68, 2-10-12 .176
  • PK 68, 0-2-2 .029

The point isn't to project this over an entire season and get a point total, but rather to confirm what we assumed: Darnell Nurse is getting powerplay time and that will mean a spike in boxcar numbers.

THE NURSE RESUME

Oiler fans got a nice look at Darnell Nurse during the Pentiction rookie series and then regular camp and pre-season. Nurse played so well during pre-season it was tough to send him down although the Oilers made the right call. Jason Gregor wrote about Nurse and his impressive play as an Oiler this fall:

  • Gregor:  Last Wednesday in Vancouver, Nurse played a dominating 24 minutes vs. the Canucks. He gave management, coaches, teammates and the fans a glimpse of his future potential, and he should go back to Sault Ste. Marie feeling very good about his game. While Nurse dominated in Vancouver that night, in his other preseason games he was solid. At times he looked his age, and you could see that he'll need to add some weight to his 6'4" frame, but every game he played he did something that caught your attention.

Nurse is captain of the Greyhounds this season, taking on more responsibility and gaining valuable experience in all three disciplines (EV, PP and PK).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

There's still a lot of talk in Oilers Nation about the club passing on Russian winger Valeri Nichushkin, and the player taken just after Nuse (Rasmus Ristolainen) is also in the NHL. Nurse impressed in training camp with his range of skills and overall ability, and this season we're seeing early signs that he's having a greater impact in the OHL and getting those special teams minutes.

Darnell Nurse is showing great improvement over last season and could be a contender for a roster spot on the Oilers a year from now. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 MessyEH!
October 07 2013, 05:18PM
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Oilers did the right thing sending nurse back. They should have done the same with Gagner. It never hurt Eberle. Let nurse gain 30lds . Get him to watch kung fu movies and eat raw steak. We need this kid turn into Pronger, spit, 2.0.

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#3 Quicksilver ballet
October 07 2013, 05:05PM
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Quite a few of the top 15 selections getting in a 9 game audition. Should be interesting to see how many stick. Good thing the Oilers sent Nurse back so soon. There's no way we'd want to mess with the mojo we got going on so far.

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#4 ubermiguel
October 07 2013, 05:25PM
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I'm looking forward to Nurse being a "value contract" for our Cup run in a couple of years.

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#5 Retsinnab5
October 07 2013, 05:21PM
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Nurse should do very well in the OHL considering he almost made the Oilers.

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#7 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 07 2013, 05:21PM
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Nurse would have made the Buffalo team as well I'm guessing. He made ours in terms of play as well, but that increased role he's going to get will only make him more complete. Great pick. Please don't get injured.

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#8 Dave "Killer" Carlson
October 07 2013, 05:11PM
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I'm a bit disappointed LT. ScarJo was just named Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive and no feature in the article? I assumed you'd be on top of these things.

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#9 Retsinnab5
October 07 2013, 05:22PM
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If Edmonton had the same defence that they had last year Nurse would be on the team.

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#10 Spydyr
October 07 2013, 06:02PM
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If one ever needed to be Nursed back to health Mila and Scarlett would do just fine.

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#11 916oiler
October 07 2013, 05:33PM
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Would love to see him on the team next year! But only if he truly earns it - no need to rush him!

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#12 k
October 07 2013, 09:27PM
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I remember the day Gretzky called the Devils a Mickey Mouse team!

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#13 oilbaron
October 08 2013, 07:13AM
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God Brodeur is terrible, gives up 4 goals in the 3rd and can't stop anything in the shootout. What a hack!

Maybe Dubbie haters could cut the guy a little slack, obviously its a tough league and clearly even the best have bad nights/periods

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#14 boxman
October 07 2013, 06:53PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Wow, clearly "Quicksilver ballet" you are a bright lad in a vortex of negativity. My advice is to swim up to the light and all that will be the Oilers............. soon :-)

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#15 Oiler Al
October 07 2013, 06:00PM
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This kid the got the makings of another Pronger type player, even better. He,s big, got skill, can skate and can be mean.

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#16 Geitus Maximus
October 07 2013, 05:38PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Quite a few of the top 15 selections getting in a 9 game audition. Should be interesting to see how many stick. Good thing the Oilers sent Nurse back so soon. There's no way we'd want to mess with the mojo we got going on so far.

Now thats funny!

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#17 Rama Lama
October 07 2013, 06:29PM
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Great to see Nurse getting top line minutes in all situations........this is infinetly better than watching him struggle with the rest of the team this year.

I get the feeling that we are just experiencing some nerves at this juncture. I for one saw a lot of compete in both games,.......but the game against Vancouver swung in their favor due to bad penalties.

At this stage I would say disclipine is just as critical as hard work.

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#18 Fresh Mess
October 07 2013, 08:22PM
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Hall giving away the puck again. I guess this means he shouldn't be playing left wing?

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#19 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 08 2013, 11:29AM
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Mark wrote:

They did the right thing sending Nurse back down. Detroit has the best model for developing young talent. There is no coincidence that all their players that Detroit pick later in the rounds end up being solid NHL players.

Not true. Detroit strikes out as much as anybody else. They actually haven't hit a homerun since Franzen, and he's the only one in that draft class to even play an NHL game. 2007 and 2008 were horrible draft years as well. Absolute duds. I think their reputation precedes them a bit at the draft. The Zberg and Datsyuk picks are near 15 years old now.

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#20 JJ
October 07 2013, 06:33PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

This kid the got the makings of another Pronger type player, even better. He,s big, got skill, can skate and can be mean.

To be fair, every team says each of their top D prospects are 'another Pronger'. I swear I heard the same thing about Trouba. Can't be 30 Prongers in the league there bud.

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#21 revingev
October 07 2013, 10:31PM
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MacDavid isn't eligible this year :) , likely to be Sam Reinhart going 1st with Ekbald and Nylander close behind. But that's a mute point cause everyone is happy and back on the bandwagon cause the Oilers won....lol

Just like we can't get too excited about the Oilers starting a season 2-0, we can't get to depressed about starting 0-2. It's a long season and a few kinks still needed straightened out. Name 1 team who has there top 2 centres out their first two games and plays real well, not very plausible. The difference tonight in this game was Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The kid is back and only will get better when his timing get's more time to fell the game again. Biggest thing I noticed was those pretty sublime passes he made twice where his teammates are not even ready for it.

It's been awhile, welcome back Nuge!

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#22 Old School G
October 07 2013, 06:16PM
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@Spydyr

Nice "Gene Principe" GO OIL!

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#23 Devolution
October 08 2013, 03:20AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

Sorry ...you were right....New Jersey Devils

And if I recall, that was 1983. After the finals some pundit from New Jersey quipped, "What do Mickey Mouse and Wayne Gretzky have in common?.. Neither has scored a goal in the Stanley Cup finals"

Now if I could just remember where I put my car keys....

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#24 Fresh Mess
October 07 2013, 08:41PM
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Time to scratch J Schultz and Hall.

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#25 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 02:10AM
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Sorry ...you were right....New Jersey Devils

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#26 druds
October 08 2013, 01:03PM
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I take umbrance at the suggestion that most people wanted to take Nichushkin...why would a team overstacked with quality top 6 forwards take another one when the glaring holes in this team are in the backend?

I think most people thought it was a no-brainer to take the defenceman.

Darnnell (barring injury) should be playing here next year.

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#27 Jackson
October 07 2013, 08:57PM
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Oilers are overrated.

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#28 fig pucker
October 07 2013, 10:29PM
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fig pucker wrote:

usualy i get until christmas before i the oil aren't making the playoffs, this year it hasn't even taken three games. i guess that's progress for you. how's the draft looking? we won't even have to try and tank the season to get first overall.....

i take back everything i just said, hope is not dead! that's the team i wanted to see this year, fast, agresive and fighting hard for the puck. that third period reminded me of the 80's, if they continue to play like this the glory days will be back soon. GO OILERS!!!

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#29 Will
October 08 2013, 09:32AM
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I'm also looking forward to seeing Nurse and Klefbomb as supreme value defenders for a cup run in a few years. The arrival of those two will mean the Oilers could potentially move some cap off the back end like maybe Nick Schultz, and put that money in a free agent somewhere else, like at goal perhaps, or at centre.

As for not taking Nichushkin, everyone is already up in arms that Yak isn't being used properly on the third line. As yet another right wing, where on earth would he slot into the line up?

It would be a whole new team dynamic that I can't see working out too well.

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#30 Danger Pay
October 08 2013, 02:32PM
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I personally still cannot believe they took Nurse in the draft. I did a little research prior to the draft and I desperately wanted the Oilers to take him, mostly B/C our D needed improvement and Nurse is a beast. Sending him down was the correct call. You can argue that they should have done the same with Hall, EBS, Nuge and Yaks, I think a year in the minors for each of them would have been tremendous down the line but it is what it is. Now we can start drafting and DEVELOPING our future stars and every year add another crucial piece to the organization. It took a while but the Oilers are finally on the right track!

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#31 tphillers
October 08 2013, 10:07AM
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Nicely done LT.

I live in Kingston and had a chance to get a bird's eye view of Nurse at this passed Sunday's afternoon game. It was a good game between two unbeaten teams but Nurse stood out as a difference maker the entire time, even more so because he appeared to be a good 2 inches taller than every other player.

He got a ton of minutes at evens and powerplay but was conspicuously absent from the PK.

When on at evens he wanders and puck-chases but only because he has the speed and even stride to catch anyone in the OHL. He is constantly circling back in the defensive zone and overhandling the puck but that's because he is confident he can take the puck back, and he usually does. His shifts are almost always over 2 minutes but that doesn't seem to wear him down.

He scored a goal with 45 seconds left to pull his team within 1 and was a threat in the offensive zone almost every shift including two dazzling end-to-end rushes.

He is the Soo Captain and jawed with any player on the Fronts he thought was taking liberties with his goalie or any other player for that matter.

All in all, it was the Darnell Nurse show on Sunday, even with top prospects Sam Bennett, Rollie McKewon, and Ryan Kujawinski, also playing in the game.

I know there is much jawing back and forth here and other places about what to do with junior players in the first stages of their ELC but after watching him play this weekend, I think a strong case could be made for having him play a year against men now rather than boys. Here's hoping he gets a WJHC invite and maybe even a deep playoff run with The Soo or with OKC.

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#32 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
October 08 2013, 11:16AM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Being one of the top 6 defenders at training camp, one would believe he deserved a 9 game look see. The Oilers are always in need of a big hit, a scrap or even perhaps a goal. All possibilities with his skillset (the devine spark could come in many different ways) tonight it happened to be a ppg.

Not at all concerned when his elc kicks in. There's always room for a kid who can contribute. Felt he deserved a shot with NHL caliber players surrounding him, as well as opposing him. Let him have that one NHL paystub to wet his appetite.

How much worse do you believe it would've gotten (if he stayed) after this past week?

Respectfully......I think most fans and observers were more concerned about the potential for injury with a not fully physically developed young man playing against the Raffi Torres's of the world...kind of a risk reward analysis.

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#33 madjam
October 08 2013, 11:21AM
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Mark wrote:

They did the right thing sending Nurse back down. Detroit has the best model for developing young talent. There is no coincidence that all their players that Detroit pick later in the rounds end up being solid NHL players.

Why emulate Detroit and not Chicago or Pittsburg that bought their stars in from Junior ? You know why Detroit takes longer ? They draft high each year and never get a talent like us or others so that they can bring them in right away . It simply takes longer to develop later picks is the answer .

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#34 oilbaron
October 08 2013, 12:46PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I see what you did there.....well played!!........slow clap!

lol, thank you! Check out Jonathon Quick last night! Guess its time for the kings to find a new goalie

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#35 15w40
October 07 2013, 08:51PM
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Pretty much ground hog day......

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#36 merfer
October 07 2013, 09:35PM
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Connor Mcdavid is going to look great with Hall and Eberle

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#37 Lofty
October 07 2013, 09:59PM
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merfer wrote:

Connor Mcdavid is going to look great with Hall and Eberle

I like that Aaron Ekbald kid. 6'4" 215. Dman.

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#38 madjam
October 07 2013, 10:26PM
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Outcome never in doubt , right ? Devils not a very good looking club . What happened after second period to have team finally turn it on ?

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#39 Quicksilver ballet
October 08 2013, 01:51AM
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@StHenriOilBomb

Being one of the top 6 defenders at training camp, one would believe he deserved a 9 game look see. The Oilers are always in need of a big hit, a scrap or even perhaps a goal. All possibilities with his skillset (the devine spark could come in many different ways) tonight it happened to be a ppg.

Not at all concerned when his elc kicks in. There's always room for a kid who can contribute. Felt he deserved a shot with NHL caliber players surrounding him, as well as opposing him. Let him have that one NHL paystub to wet his appetite.

How much worse do you believe it would've gotten (if he stayed) after this past week?

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#40 Rod from Viking
October 08 2013, 07:12AM
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k wrote:

I remember the day Gretzky called the Devils a Mickey Mouse team!

Man it is hard to believe that was 30 years ago,I think they left Ron Lowe in for all 13 goals and Gretzky had 7 or 8 points.The Devils organization turned it around shortly after.

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#41 Bucknuck
October 08 2013, 06:28PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Considering two out of three of those players required surgery before year two, one might think that they learned something.

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#42 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 08 2013, 06:59PM
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@Quicksilver ballet

Selective hindsight when every first overall pick plays in the NHL the year they were drafted. The last who didnt was Johnson was it not? This isn't an idea exclusive to the Oilers but you word it like it is.

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#43 Seriously
October 07 2013, 08:45PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

Time to scratch J Schultz and Hall.

Agreed!!!!!!! Painful To watch!!

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#44 Jeffff
October 07 2013, 09:03PM
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Will Eakins win a game in the NHL as a head coach?

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#45 madjam
October 07 2013, 09:21PM
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It's the system ,it's the system > we are no good at it , and doubtfully ever will be with our makeup . Players look like they are walking on egg shells with confidence completely shot . System might work in AHL with our type lineup , but not in NHL as we are clearly seeing . The swarm system will not work with our personnel - when is it (direction) going to change ? We were not this disorganized , confused and lacking confidence last season under Kreuger's system and tutillage now were we !

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#46 fig pucker
October 07 2013, 09:27PM
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usualy i get until christmas before i the oil aren't making the playoffs, this year it hasn't even taken three games. i guess that's progress for you. how's the draft looking? we won't even have to try and tank the season to get first overall.....

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#47 StHenriOilBomb
October 07 2013, 11:08PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Quite a few of the top 15 selections getting in a 9 game audition. Should be interesting to see how many stick. Good thing the Oilers sent Nurse back so soon. There's no way we'd want to mess with the mojo we got going on so far.

Would you rather expose him to the "mojo" of these first 3 of his probably max 9 games?

Keep him away from the toxic stench that's still thick in these parts.

How much better do you think the team will be with Nurse in it?

How much better do you think Nurse will be by sticking around?

Is it worth the extra year of his entry contract?

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#48 brakenbury
October 08 2013, 01:20AM
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Seriously though, let's give things a little time At least 20 games. And then we'll c where we R at. Lots of changes, gonna take some time to All come together

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#49 Mark
October 08 2013, 10:49AM
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They did the right thing sending Nurse back down. Detroit has the best model for developing young talent. There is no coincidence that all their players that Detroit pick later in the rounds end up being solid NHL players.

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#50 madjam
October 08 2013, 10:54AM
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15 goals against in 3 games , and one has to wonder if this years overall defence and goaltending is even worse than last years .

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