Anyone who knows Darnell Nurse as a player or person wasn’t surprised by him stepping up for his teammate on Tuesday night. Nurse challenged veteran tough guy Milan Lucic to drop the gloves following his hit on Lauri Korpikoski in the corner.
Nurse said after the game he was just looking out for his teammate, something that is not lost on the Oilers head coach.
“It says volumes about his character,” said Todd McLellan. “He’s all in, for one. He’s got a lot of courage, for two. He’s trying to establish himself in a real tough league, is the third one. I think he earned a lot of respect from his teammates and probably around the league as well. It takes a lot of courage to do that.”
Little things like Nurse’s courage are what helps pull a team together and ignite pushback.
“There are the unsung things that happen during a game that give people the lift,” said McLellan. “The goals and all that type of stuff is pretty evident, but the blocked shots seem to do that, the sticking up for a teammate, if you get a big faceoff win, getting the puck out at the blueline in a stressful situation. Those are all things that give groups a lift. Players recognize it on the bench, the coaches recognize it. We acknowledge it verbally. It can give teams a lift and I think Darnell did that last night for us as well.”