EDMONTON, AB - Before the season began, Darnell Nurse came into training camp a confident player. The 22-year-old defenceman has only seen his confidence grow throughout the first month of the NHL season, thanks to a string of good performances.
"He's a year older, a year wiser and I think he looks a lot more confident," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "As I mentioned last night in post-game, I think his legs are better this year. Now, he's always been a great athlete and has been basically been able to do anything in any sport but he's using his legs better. He's getting to his jobs quicker, he has the ability to join the rush and recover well. He just looks more confident in my opinion."
Nurse says this season he has been able to take more of a deep breath when he gets the puck on his stick, and then he tries to make the right play instead of forcing it. He is currently third on the team in shots on goal with 25 through nine games and has three assists.
"It's just the beginning of the year and I've got to continue to grow," said Nurse. "It's been pretty strong but there's a lot of room for improvement still. I'm just looking forward to continue to work here."
Nurse's performance is not lost on his teammates.
"I think he's been great," said fellow defenceman Kris Russell, who has been paired with Nurse at times. "I think he's been using his legs and moving the puck well. He's skating well and he's defending extremely well. He's been one of our better defencemen and it's good to see."