News today that Darnell Nurse is not part of the Canadian World Junior roster for Christmastime. It’s a surprise, but Oiler fans shouldn’t be upset about it. I’ll tell you why after the jump.


Well, not really. The truth is that Canada has so much depth each season among eligible players they could ice two teams and the second group could win the entire thing. As fans, we have a right to be pissed off (I’m livid!) but there’s so much quality in Canadian junior hockey the men choosing the roster really can’t blow it.

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Today’s roster announcement tells us the following:

  • the recent Subway series had a lot to do with the final decision. Nurse made a couple of defensive errors and that was apparently enough to include him out. It IS insane to make these decisions on such a small sample size, but Canada has been doing that since Don Cherry chewed with his own teeth.
  • some of the more experienced defensemen (like Griffin Reinhart) had a similar skill set to Nurse.

That’s my take, anyway. Sucks for Darnell Nurse, I hope he uses that as motivation to beat hell out of the OHL and win the Max Kaminsky trophy.


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Oh come on. I agree the roster selection looks a little weird, but the Team Canada coach has earned the right to choose his team, and they’ll be wearing the Canadian uniform at Christmas. That means you and I will cheer for these kids, just like we did for Jordan Eberle.

Well, maybe not EXACTLY like that (as I recall Wanye may have hovered over top of the arena in a Zeppelin for the Eberle games) but these are Canadian kids and chances are one day soon one or more will be Oilers (the Flames MUST owe us something in the Smid trade).


History will tell us if Team Canada chose wisely today, and I hope to be around for all 25 of Darnell’s NHL seasons and his HHOF ceremony. Best of luck to Team Canada without him, it’ll be fun to see if they can win shorthanded.


Things happen for a reason. I don’t know that Darnell Nurse needed extra motivation, but he found some today. Oiler fans have seen this young man for themselves—his training camp and pre-season was outstanding—and we’re betting on Darnell.

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All day. ALL day.

  • Spydyr

    The draft book on Nurse was that he was prone to mental gaffes.It sounds like he hasn’t worked it out of his game as he did a couple in Super series.

    Making the team doesn’t guarantee an nhl career as Teubert found out.Then we have players like Weber who did not make it until his final junior year.

  • TayLordBalls

    Solution: Put Nurse at center!

    He could he be better than 50% of the other centers in the league.

    Oilers could be sitting on a gold mine and don’t know it

  • Citizen David

    The pairs I imagine they’ll go with once Reinhart’s done his three game suspension IF everyone is healthy.

    Reinhart Dumba,

    Pouliot Severson,

    Morrissey Ekblad.

    While Reinhart is out the line up doesn’t look quite as good. Will they run with a Pouliot Dumba first pairing? That might be a little more than a little chaotic.

  • Citizen David

    I actually found it interesting that none of the defencemen of the year from the QMJHL, OHL, or WHL made the world junior team last year. Kevin Gagné from the Q, Ryan Sproul from the O, and Brendon Kitchon from the W.

  • A-Mc

    There is a silver lining to every chithole:

    When Canada places 4th again, we can scream about how stupid hockey Canada is and point to their team selection FAILURE. These gripes will keep us warm at night until the end of the NHL season where we can B!tch about trade deadline/picks/trades.

  • Ducey

    It doesn’t detract from Nurse’s long term NHL future one bit. Many of the guys selected to Team Canada will never make it.

    Look back ten years (presumably guys have had enough time to make it) to the 2003 defense:

    Brendan Bell
    Carlo Colaiacovo
    Steve Eminger
    Alexandre Rouleau
    Nathan Paetsch
    Ian White
    Jeff Woywitka

    Derek Meech
    Dion Phaneuf
    Josh Gorges
    Kevin Klein
    Braydon Coburn
    Brent Seabrook
    Shawn Belle

    Cam Barker
    Shawn Belle
    Braydon Coburn
    Dion Phaneuf
    Brent Seabrook
    Danny Syvret
    Shea Weber

    Some studs in there but also lots of busts.

  • Serious Gord

    Just like everyone else, I too wanted Nurse to make it! Every year there are excellent players left off the roster……….but this should not diminish their value to the team that drafted them.

    In stead they should use this as motivation to refine and enhance their game. If the only metric was points, then we would have a very skilled team with almost no chance of winning. The combination of defensive players added to the mix is crucial to create a winning team.

    We have an excellent potential player in Nurse……I hope he makes everyone on the selection committee regret their decision with his strong play.

  • Mikey

    Baby Nuge didn’t make the team his first time around. Nurse may make the team next year, or not. Making or not making Team Canada means jack $#!^ in terms of a player’s career.

    Don’t fret Oilernation, Nursey will turn out just fine. The teams that didn’t pick him will be cursing his name when he’s smashing their player’s faces into the glass and slapping one timers past their goalies.

  • Citizen David

    The idea that Hockey Canada doesn’t want to make an All-Star team they want to make the “best team” is interesting because it’s so vague that it doesn’t mean anything. What is their definition of All Star? Max Domi’s and Darnell Nurses? A.K.A high draft picks with high NHL potential? Would it include players like Mitch Holmberg? – an overages who’s dominating junior? What about Anthony DeAngelo? – 5’11” offensive dynamo defenseman leading the OHL D in points ( 11 more than second place Nurse?) Why not Flames prospect Emile Poirier who is 5th in the QMJHL in points with 44 and is 6’2″ when they selected Felix Girard who is 101rst in the QMJHL in points with 18 and is 5’11”?

    Could it be they are looking for intangibles? So why not Greg Chase? 27 points in 25 games in the WHL and has the Brad Marchand factor? Played big for WHL against the Russians in the super series just days ago?

    I think the “best team not all star team” is just a way of saying we like certain players and don’t like others and you can’t question us. Only problem is that the players that they like are repeatedly not the best players.

  • Truth

    If they were looking to take the best team and not an All-Star team wouldn’t they take the #1 ranked CHL team? Plug in replacements for the non-Canadians on the roster.

    I am no expert on the CHL, but from looking at the numbers Bigras over Nurse is extremely questionable. They may blame the snub on play at the super series and summer camp, but don’t they look at his play in the OHL? Subban was horrendous last year in net at the super series and camp and they picked him based on his play in the OHL. What gives?

    Hopefully Nurse uses this as motivation to never play for the Canadian WJC team. Make the Oilers next year and take a pass at joining the WJC team while he lights up the NHL.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Brent Sutter has just made this easier for everybody involved. No, “never really had a chance anyways” guys in the way going forward, or slowing things up/getting in the way of the players who’ll be on the team.

    Good on Sutter for not wasting anyone’s time. The Oilers should take notice of this. Why have a gong show with 65+ players for training camp when there’s really fewer than 30 guys with a real shot at making the hockey club. The Oilers wasted two and a half weeks just getting down to that group of 30.

    Of all teams, the Oilers would benefit the most by not wasting that almost a month of much needed prep time (new coach,system and GM).

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Strong western flavour in the Team Canada defense. Is that a Sutter just being a Sutter? Disappointing that Nurse didn’t get selected. I thought Nurse was having a monster year.

    I am anxious to see Connor McDavid. He killed it at the U18s. If he can do something similar as a 16 year old at WJHC, wow!

  • Quicksilver ballet

    No sure if this is fact or people making sheet up, but I had picked up on a couple of comments that his skating was not up to speed.

    Taught he looked pretty good in the Oiler preseason games, but then again, the way Oilers D, play some nights, my dog could look good along side of them.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Oiler fans should maybe take off the rose colored glasses when it comes to many of these prospects. The fact is, Darnell Nurse wasn’t even a consideration to be on this bottom feeder hockey club from day 1, despite the horrible group of blue liners MacT/Eakins decided to go with.

    Lets face it, if he couldn’t supplant the Potter/Larsen/Smid/Grebeshcov/Belov types during camp, he must not be that good. MacTavish must’ve seen the same thing in his game that Sutter did.

    Tankage must be on deck yet again this season, with sending one of their top 4 D’men at camp back to that shootin fish in a barrel league. Those kids will teach Nurse a lot down there i’m sure. This whole NHL Edmonton Oilers team is a work in progress. Nurse deserved to be a part of it like the rest of these kids are.

    Wish I could say the first 2 paragraphs were sarcasm. With the management group on this team, it may be much closer to fact, than fiction/sarcasm.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Not that I would say we have had anything approaching good management over the last decade, but not burning a year of Nurse’s ELC as an 18 year old defenseman was the right call.

      Because he did not make the team – and was not going to from day one – was due to some lucid thought from MacT and does reflect on Nurse’s ability or performance.

      I realize you are justifiably embittered Q, but please don’t write off an 18 year old defenseman by saying “he must not be that good”.

      The kid got hosed by politics and short-sightedness in not getting a WJC invite. I have no idea how a Bigras or Severson got the nod over Nurse. If they based it on Bigras play in one game against the Ruskies, then Canada gets what they deserve sadly.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I watched Nurse during the subway series. I found it odd that Nurse was not getting much ice time , he did make mistakes in both games and did not play well.. However it does puzzle me why he was not getting ice time before his mistakes . He has been the most dominant D man in the OHL.

  • The Soup Fascist

    I watched Nurse during the subway series. I found it odd that Nurse was not getting much ice time , he did make mistakes in both games and did not play well.. However it does puzzle me why he was not getting ice time before his mistakes . He has been the most dominant D man in the OHL.

  • Zarny

    I totally get it. Examples of “all star team” the Oilers. Lots of first draft picks and they are at the bottom of the league; yet an example of “best team” assembled Colorado, 2 maybe 3 considered all stars, rest compliment these players and are role players and are sitting nicely in the stands. Nurse will be fine, let’s not get our panties in a knot. If anything, it will give him so much drive that when he makes the team next year, he’ll kill everyone that gets in his way.

  • 2004Z06

    Its so nice to see the Canadian tradition of poor choices for the WJC continues. I guess Pendergast was only following the same cues? We deserve the WJ losses with the brain trust in place.