It’s not clear what is wrong with Nurse, who hasn’t missed a game all season. Coach Todd McLellan told the media Nurse will be out long-term with a lower-body injury suffered in the Oilers last game, a 6-3 win in Winnipeg. McLellan said GM Peter Chiarelli will update Nurse’s condition in the coming days, as is the Oilers custom with serious injuries.
Nurse played 70 seconds more than his average time-on-ice in Winnipeg. He’s been much improved this season, and has five points in 25 games. Nurse struggled last season when he was forced to play top-minutes as a rookie.
Because of Nurse’s injury, the Oilers have switched up their defense pairings for tonight’s game against Anaheim. Andrej Sekera will pair with rookie Matt Benning; Oscar Klefbom and Mark Fayne will form the second pair; Kris Russell and Adam Larsson the other pair (pairs per Bob Stauffer). Simpson will serve as the seventh defenseman, with Nurse, Brandon Davidson, and Eric Gryba all on IR.
Simpson has yet to play an NHL game, but has already been called up once this season as insurance for an injured player. He has one goal in 12 games with the Condors this season. The 2011 fourth-round pick is considered an all-round player who doesn’t have one standout skill, but is just good enough at each part of the game. The Edmonton-native is the son of former Oiler and Hockey Night in Canada commentator Craig Simpson.