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If Tyson Barrie can repair it, Darnell Nurse can repair it. Proper?

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Recreation Day 3: Oilers vs Nashville

There are not any scarcity of critics in Edmonton of Darnell Nurse’s play simply now, nearly all of it ignited due to one colossal psychological error Nurse made Saturday evening that set the Oilers again considerably.

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With the rating tied at two early within the second, Cody Ceci first joined the three Oilers forwards on an attacking rush into the Vancouver finish, then, inexplicably and in blatant defiance of all good hockey tactical sense, Nurse additionally joined in, making it a 5-on-3 assault, however with two Vancouver forwards behind any Oilers defender within the impartial zone.

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When Oilers winger Warren Foegele didn’t hit the web along with his shot, and the puck fired across the boards, the Canucks have been gifted a two-man breakaway, with Ceci and Nurse far, far, far out of the play. Vancouver scored to make it 3-2.

It was a grievous instance of the sort of error in judgement Nurse has typically made lately,as he’s sprinted as much as a be a part of an Oilers rush assault and been caught out, or as he’s moved up exhausting and quick to interrupt up an enemy assault within the impartial zone, solely to get beat and permit an odd-man rush towards.

Nurse, nearly 29-years-old and in his ninth NHL season, has by no means realized to play it protected, by no means absolutely accepted that each he and the staff can be greatest off if he determined that his major and over-riding function on the ice was to be the NHL’s largest, meanest, baddest and most secure defensive d-man, an immovable power in entrance of the Oilers web and in his personal defensive nook, a participant who might be counted on greater than another to close down each Grade A photographs and targets towards.

However I’m right here to let you know it’s not too late for Nurse. It received’t be simple for him however he’s received it in him to nonetheless change into an elite NHL defensive d-man.

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Of their despair at Nurse’s tendencies, some Oilers followers are sure the participant can’t change. However I’m hear to say I don’t consider that. In truth, I’ve seen such a change happen. It occurred proper earlier than our eyes the previous couple of seasons with Tyson Barrie.

Barrie was a defensive legal responsibility when he got here to the Oilers. He’s not an enormous participant, and he’s no pace burner both, so he was by no means going to be an elite defender, however Barrie made worse his personal woes with poor decision-making, particularly pinching on the mistaken second and inflicting odd-man rushes towards. Basically, he was making an attempt too exhausting to become involved within the assault, identical to Nurse on his wayward rush try towards Vancouver.

However Barrie modified. Roughly half-way by means of his Oilers profession, at age 31, he introduced he was going to focus extra on the defensive finish and do higher in that regard. And he did it. Once more, he was by no means huge and agile sufficient to change into an elite defender, or perhaps a good one, however he began to make higher choices, reduce down on ill-advised pinching makes an attempt on the offensive blueline, and he grew to become an OK NHL defender.

Nurse is already an OK defender, and he’s OK towards the hardest competitors the NHL has. Not like Barrie, he’s typically on the market towards prime attacking gamers, not third or fourth liners a lot.

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However it’s nicely inside Nurse’s capability to maneuver from an OK defender towards such prime attackers to a very good defender or perhaps a nice one. All he’s received to do is reign in his most aggressive offensive instincts. All he’s received to do is pull again a bit and make the protected resolution as an alternative of the riskier and extra in-your-face resolution.

First, Nurse has received to confess there’s a downside along with his play, simply as Barrie did. Then he’s received to make up his thoughts to do all he can to repair it.

If Tyson Barrie can repair it, Darnell Nurse can repair it.

On the Cult of Hockey

STAPLES: Oilers go on a blender bender with main shake-up of traces

McCURDY: Six stats and 6 opinions on early season Oilers flop

LEAVINS: The reason why the 0-2 Oilers shouldn’t panic — 9 Issues

STAPLES: Defensive blunders value Oilers in house loss to Vancouver — participant grades

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