— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) December 30, 2014
Edmonton Oilers’ fans are going to get a good look at the future this afternoon, as Team Canada meets Team USA at the World Juniors. For your viewing pleasure: Darnell, plus the 1-2 punch of Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. All nationalism aside, it’s going to be a barn burner!
Canada takes its hockey seriously, and since the John Carlson OT goal in 2010 facing the USA has a history involving pain. This year’s WJs has gone according to plan for Canada but the truth is only one game during the prelims means anything and that happens today.
Beat USA! Prepare the fury!!!
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 29, 2014
Darnell Nurse was a big part of the win against Finland, playing big minutes and defending sorties with aplomb. He closes gaps quickly and has the wingspan of a wandering albatross.
To my eye, Nurse is being used in a different manner with Team Canada than he’s deployed in Sault Ste. Marie. To borrow from Josh W’s fine work at NHL Numbers, here’s what he had to say before the tournament about the defender:
Josh W: Nurse faces slightly above average competition while he is getting help from very
strong teammates. The elder statesman on the blueline has very heavy
special teams time with middling even strength ice time while sporting a slightly negative -5.04%
even-strength relative goal-for%. Source
During the preliminary round, Nurse appears (imo) to be facing the tougher opponents and is in what we might call a shutdown role. If he’s been on the PP it hasn’t been often and one suspects this might be the future role Nurse plays in the NHL (when he arrives).
He’ll be a big part of the Canadian blue this afternoon.
THE OLD 1-2
Does McDavid think about his rivalry with Eichel? “It’s there a little bit,” Connor admits, “but at the end of the day it’s Canada v USA”
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 31, 2014
I haven’t seen much of Jack Eichel this season and lordy this WJ’s has been an eye opening experience. Eichel has across the board skills and seems to be around the puck constantly. I’m shocked to see a guy with his size and skill also possess a motor that won’t quit. He’s going to be a fun player for the team that drafts him.
As everyone knows, McDavid entered the tournament coming off a long term injury and isn’t exactly at the top of his game. It’s obvious he’s an exceptional passer and highly creative but I’m hoping he really pushes it today and we see a glorious one-on-one between the two men.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) December 27, 2014
GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN….
This is a big damn day for hockey in Canada and a big damn glimpse into the Oilers future. Darnell Nurse looks like a really big piece of the future and the other two look like they might be franchise cornerstones.
Go Canada! And look at the glorious future that could be on the way for the Oilers. Some sweet day.