The Edmonton Oilers are on the brink of elimination and they may now be without their best defenseman. Darnell Nurse will have a hearing with the Department of Player Safety today, after head-butting Los Angeles Kings forward Phillip Danault last night.
The incident in question happened on the penalty kill, as the Oilers tried to shoulder a barrage from the Kings, and Nurse was tangled with Danault in front of the net. As Mike Smith covered up a shot, Nurse extended up and through Danault, connecting helmet with chin. The play was not penalized by the on-ice officials, in what was a very physical contest.
If Nurse is suspended, which seems likely at this point, the Oilers will be heading to Los Angeles with some questions to answer on defense. The team is carrying seven defensemen at the moment with Kris Russell serving as the extra, and also have Philip Broberg that they could insert into the lineup with a recall. Either way, it will be a tough task for the team given Nurse’s importance.
Even while he deals with an injury, the 27-year-old is still averaging nearly 22 minutes a night and has two points in five games.