NURSE TO CAPTAIN OHL ALL-STARS

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Darnell Nurse is a big part of the Edmonton Oilers’ future, and should be one of Team Canada’s six defensemen at the World Juniors this Christmas. Nurse received a nice (and significant) honor today when it was announced he would captain TEAM OHL during the Super Series against Russia this week.

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Darnell Nurse’s place among Edmonton Oilers prospects is clear: He possesses the complete skill set and projects as a top-pairing NHL player. Miles to go, but his final year in junior is starting well (10 points in 8 games) and the OHL Captaincy for this mini-tournament is a nice arrow, too.

Most Canadians are focused on one thing this day in regard to the World Juniors:

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But what about Darnell? Snubbed a year ago, can he make the team this year? How important is this captaincy for the (important) exhibition?

HOW IMPORTANT IS THE WJ SPOT?

Opinions will vary, but for me it’s a nice honor but shouldn’t be considered a massive deal if the young man doesn’t make the team.

Darnell Nurse doesn’t have to be chosen for the roster to prove his worth to the Oilers, he did that leading up to draft day. The WJ spot, and the ensuing tournament, is a lot about hype and hope, and there appears to be a lot of personal preference involved in choosing the team.

Nurse missed out on last year’s roster despite having a fabulous season, and fans should be aware it’s possible the same scenario presents itself again.

So, with that in mind, the captaincy is an important item. Hockey Canada takes this tournament seriously, so naming Nurse suggests they see him as a leader and that’s going to hold sway when it comes to roster debate.

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HOW STACKED IS CANADA ON DEFENSE?

VERY. Lordy. In the WHL alone you could make a strong case for each of the men invited to the two-game set just completed. Josh Morrissey, Dillon Heatherington, Joe Hicketts, Madison Bowey, Haydn Fleury, Shea Theodore and Travis Sanheim represent a stunning collection of defensive talent—and that’s just one of the three leagues!

The OHL? Nurse is joined by Ben Harpur, Roland McKeown, Chris Bigras, Matt Spencer and Mitch Vande Sompel.

The QMJHL?

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WILL DARNELL MAKE THE WJ TEAM?

I think he will, but as an Oilers’ fan I’m plenty biased. I can tell you that in following this tournament for the entire century, the fact that Gatineau Olympiques’ Benoit Groulx is the head coach may favor some of the Q kids. Call it politics if you wish, but familiarity with players is a pretty important item in such a short time period. 

Also, Nurse’s performance on the ice this week will go a long way to deciding things. The selection group puts enormous importance on these games, so playing well is the biggest item of all.

All that said, I believe Nurse makes the team. Thoughts?

    • Serious Gord

      What about me? Craig Mactavish said I have Norris Potential. Ahaha I can’t wait for him to give me a $7M 6 year contract when the season is done and be paid as much as the likes of Drew Doughty,Duncan Keith,Zdeno Chara,and Erik Karlsson. Now I know why I chose to sign with Edmonton-because they like to overpay lazy talent!!!!! #KeepLowe

    • lucky

      You think MacT wishes he could have that little slip bac?. It’s for sure Jultz wishes he could. If ever there’s a question I bet 6 Rings would like to have a second go at a couple of his speeches. Eakins? Man there’s a foot in the mouth if I ever heard one. I think the team should change it’s name to the Edmonton Tambellini’s. These are the best days ever to be a fan.

  • Spiel

    Good for him & good news!

    TSN speculates that Mike Richards could be available. He’s a C and he’s the perfect 2C we need! (albeit a bit small @196 lbs, 5’11”) A mid level prospect & 2nd rounder could get this done as the Kings are too close to cap limit and must resign some young guys soon…
    Thumbs up if you think we should trade for him.

  • I don’t see a defenseman on the list that’s better than Darnell, but I’m biased…thumbs up if you agree he’s the best.

    The spot may not be important to Darnell’s career (I actually think it is), but I think Team Canada needs him badly.

    • Alsker

      How did you get away with that one…for a sec i thought I was at lowetides site…as for your post, there are lots of quiet evenings to catch up on Gators play…besides turning the tables and giving Hockey Cda the old wham bam and heres what you missed out on last year thank you man, would be just as nice.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Seriously man, you kiss your mother with that mouth?

      If Darnell sits out the WJ tournament, is it such a bad thing? He will have all that extra time to train. Look how well that worked out for Hall and Ebs. Bomb those lats and traps. And maybe those glutes too, right Red Rocket?

  • Spoils

    Wow great news for Nurse. Love the fire he plays with.

    It would be great to see Nurse make the WJC team.

    People forget Oscar Klefbom was an All Star in the 2012 WJC.

    There are two Ds every year so it is a pretty exclusive list that includes Niedermeyer, Bowmeester, Doughty, Pietrangelo, PK Subban etc.

    Here’s hoping Oscar and Darnell continue to grow.

  • Team canada has made some puzzling omissions through the years and on the flip side have brought some kids back as incumbents that arguably had no business returning based on their current game.

    Many agendas to serve and the subsequent axes to grind within the confines of HC.

    Assuming Darnell covets a spot on the roster, I hope he makes it.

  • Spiel

    Add Jordan Subban and Kyle Wood to potential candidates as they are playing in the 2nd OHL game on the 17th.

    Subban is leading the OHL in scoring for defenseman. 19 yrs old, shoots right. Has 10 goals and 23 points in 19 games. Only about 5’9 though.

    The selections might come down to left and right shot and whether the Team Canada staff wants balance.

    Left hand shots from the summer selection camp:
    Bigras, Fleury, Harpur, Heatherington, Morin, Morrisey, Nurse, Sanheim, Theodore.

    Right hand shots:
    Bowey, Ekblad (in NHL now), McKeown

    If some of the higher profile left side guys can show they are comfortable on the right side, it will help their cause.