NHL upholds automatic one game suspension to Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse, $10,000 fine to Jay Woodcroft

Edmonton Oilers Darnell Nurse
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
The NHL has upheld Darnell Nurse’s one-game suspension for instigating a fight late in game four.
The fight between the Edmonton Oilers defenceman and Vegas Golden Knights rearguard Nic Hague took place with a minute and a half left in the game.
Edmonton was on the power play at the time as the Golden Knights were heavily penalized for Alex Pietrangelo’s slash on Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers iced a line of Warren Foegele, Nick Bjugstad, Klim Kostin, Vincent Desharnais and Nurse, and the puck eventually found its way into the Golden Knights’ zone.
Pinned behind the net, Hague was engaged in a puck battle when Nurse skated down from the blueline and the two players grabbed each other. Both players shed their gloves at the same time with Nurse leaving Hague bloodied at the end of the fight.

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On the play, Nurse was issued both a two-minute minor penalty and a 10-minute major penalty for instigating, as well as a five-minute major for fighting.
According to section 46.21 of the NHL’s rule book, “a player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident.”
The instigator rule is handed out to a player who “by his actions or demeanour demonstrates any/some of the following criteria: distance travelled; gloves off first; first punch thrown; menacing attitude or posture; verbal instigation or threats; conduct in retaliation to a prior game (or season) incident; obvious retribution for a previous incident in the game or season.”
As the automatic one-game suspension has been upheld, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft has also been issued a $10,000 fine.
According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshysnki, the automatic suspension — which is reviewable by the league — was reviewed by the league’s head of the department of player safety, George Parros. A noted fighter himself, Parros was only issued one instigator penalty in his NHL career, for this fight with then Chicago Blackhawk Ben Eager.

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@thenationnetwork.com.

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