NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers Darnell Nurse’s record setting night, Fans irate over NHL’s new jersey partnership with Fanatics, and are the LA Kings the best team in the Pacific Division?

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
Darnell Nurse slid into first place last night in the Edmonton Oilers ranks for overtime game-winning goals scored by a defenceman.
It came in thanks to his beauty scored with just 15 seconds left on the clock in last night’s thriller against the San Jose Sharks.
The record was previously held by Eric Brewer, of all people. His first overtime winner came on March 13th, 2001 against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 5-4 win, with his second coming on January 22nd, 2003 in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. His third and final OT winner with the Oilers came on Feb. 21, 2004 when the Oilers toppled the Vancouver Canucks 4-3.
For Nurse, meanwhile, his first career OT winner came on Jan. 13, 2018 in a 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. His second came months later with a winner in a 5-4 game against the Winnipeg Jets on Oct. 16, 2018. His third came on March 29th, 2021 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 3-2 win.

Fanatics partnership…

The NHL announced a new 10-year partnership with Fanatics, a long-time supplier of fan apparel to become its“authentic outfitter of on-ice uniforms.” They’ll take over in the 2024-25 season, and many were quick to point out past issues with quality control from Fanatics.
Nonetheless, Tyler Yaremchuk and Mike McKenna dove into the topic on Daily Faceoff Live on Tuesday.
Tyler Yaremchuk: The NHL has its new jersey partner. The deal with Adidas runs out at the end of [the 2023–24 season] and the league announcing today that they’ve agreed with Fanatics on a 10-year deal to be the exclusive on-ice uniform and supplier of authentic jerseys, both retail and on-ice as well. This was met with a lot of pushback. Fans are not pleased about this at all. The general sense around Fanatics, and this has been the case since they’ve been partnered with Adidas, is that they make the cheaper alternatives for the jerseys, the quality is not great as well. Some people have pushed back on the idea that Fanatics has, in a way, started to monopolize the NHL’s apparel game — and this leads to a bigger step towards that with a 10-year deal now. People are not happy. The PR of this is not good at all. And when you look at other major sports leagues, Mike. MLB, NFL, NBA, they all have Nike and Jordan and all these big brands supplying their merchandise. For the NHL to have Fanatics? I can’t tell if I’m making too big of a deal out of this or if this really is kind of a minor-league moment for the NHL.
Mike McKenna: I don’t think you are at all, Tyler, because this is one of those under-the-surface topics that, to me, is a big deal. Like … Fanatics. That’s not the same as Nike. It just seems Mickey Mouse. It seems minor-league, there’s no way around it. And I think about the players who are probably going, “Fanatics? What? Don’t they make replica jerseys”? I guarantee the players are thinking, “These things better be decent quality.” The Adidas jerseys, they were a step forward. They were breathable, they were flexible, they worked pretty well. Mixed back previous to that. But at least Adidas carried some weight. And I think more than anything, Tyler, no matter how much money the NHL’s bringing in in terms of revenue, it does show that it’s still — at least in the United States — a second-tier niche sport. That’s what this means: you didn’t get a bid from Nike or Reebok or Adidas or any of these big companies. You had to go to the second class, which is a replica apparel company, and you hope it works out. So, we’ll see how it goes, I’m sure it’ll be eventually fine, but man — it sure wasn’t going over well on social today, and I don’t think it will amongst a lot of fans or players.

How about them Kings?

Yaremchuk and McKenna also dove the LA Kings, talking about if they’re the strongest team in the Pacific Division this year.
Yaremchuk: We talked yesterday on the show about the amount of teams on Sunday’s skate that put up seven goals or more and how crazy that was. Well, the L.A. Kings got in on the fun as well, popping home eight goals against the Calgary Flames and four of them came in the first period, as well as Jacob Markstrom was chased from the crease allowing six of those eight goals. The L.A. Kings Mike are starting to look like an absolute wagon, are you prepared to maybe call them the best team in the Pacific Division?
McKenna: Well, are they the best team in the NHL right now? I think it’s worth asking that. When you look back to January 21st Tyler who’s the best team on record? It’s the Los Angeles Kings! They’re 16-4-4, the numbers don’t lie, I don’t care how bad you want to call the Western Conference but it’s not bad, you’re still facing NHL teams. Since the trade deadline, they’ve been even better and haven’t lost, they’re 6-0-2. They added Gavrikov at the deadline, he’s got four points, and Korpisalo is 3-0-1 with a .921 save percentage. The stats are there, but the intangibles to this are that the Kings defend and that’s core to them. They’re still winning with Pheonix Copley in net and look at their top two centers, it’s Kopitar and Danault, name a one-two punch that’s better than those two 200-foot players. Here’s the intangible that I have loved recently, that’s Quinton Byfield, they switched him over to wing as Kevin Fiala has been dealing with an injury and Byfield has eight assists in his last ten games. He looks comfortable, he looks confident. This team is deep, they’re running solid defensemen and they even have D who are out right now, like Sean Durzi. So, it allows Gavrikov to play top-four and maybe he slides down when Durzi comes back but this team can defend, they can score, they’re really balanced and they could be the dark horse out of the West.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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