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FEATURE: The Doc is in

"I came in with a few guys in this room that feel like brothers. Our goal is to win here," said defenceman Darnell Nurse, who signed a two-year contract extension on Monday

by Paul Gazzola /

EDMONTON, AB - The Doc is in.

And a two-year contract extension for Darnell Nurse, which will keep him an Oiler through the 2021-22 season, is just what the doctor ordered.

The Oilers announced the two-year extension of the alternate captain on Monday, bridging a pact that benefits both player and club.

Video: OILERS TODAY | What's Up, Doc? 02.10.20

"I love it here," Nurse, who has four goals and 20 assists in 55 games this season, started. 

"I love the guys here. We have a great owner, great management and great coaching staff. It's a place I want to be."

Nurse became a fixture of the Oilers blueline in the 2015-16 NHL season, maturing before Oil Country's very eyes ever since. In 334 appearances - all in Oilers silks - the 25-year-old has 28 goals, 84 assists and 112 points.

But Nurse's contributions come in many forms. The 6-foot-4, 221-pounder plays in almost every situation for the Oilers, getting penalty-killing duties as well as second power-play unit responsibilities. 

The domineering figure is always the first to defend his teammates, engaging in 15 fighting majors during his Oilers career and has become a key leader inside the dressing room, with proof of that evidenced by the emergence and growth of Ethan Bear, who's been paired with Nurse for the entire '19-20 campaign.

"He means a lot to this group," Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett said. "You look at the guts of the game, he's around it for us. He can be an emotional guy and stand up for teammates and he can be a guy that can drive really big minutes and do well in it.

Video: RAW | Darnell Nurse

"There's more upside to him but I like that we have a great relationship. He wants to be here, we want him here. We'll continue that relationship."

Ethan Bear was unaware of Nurse's extension following practice but once he found out about the news, the rookie offered praise for his defence partner.

"When you see a guy get rewarded like that, it makes you want to work harder," Bear said. "He's been a good role model for myself."

That aspect of mentorship wasn't lost on Tippett, who articulated just how impactful it can be for a first-year player.

"He's learned it from good people, and now he's helping younger players," Tippett said. "But the younger players, it's easy to say that to them but they need to see you do it. Darnell is a doer. He gets in the gym, he practices, he focuses. He's trying to get better every day. 

"A young guy like Bearsy with him like that all the time, that's a big part of the leadership."

Video: RAW | Dave Tippett

Coupled with Nurse's big influence is his big personality, which only adds to his authority. Nurse is a routine joker and unafraid of showing his personality through his love of music and fashion.

Oilers Captain Connor McDavid, who was roommates with Nurse during their first few years in Edmonton, confirmed as much.

"He's always had that kind of charisma and that kind of leadership," No. 97 said. "That's just how he is; he's a leader whether he likes it or not. He likes that role, does a great job with that role and I know all of his teammates love him."

The contract locks the Doc up for two more years, but in his post-practice prognosis, Nurse asserted that he's hoping to be in Oil Country, as an Oiler, for much longer than that.

"We want to win," he said. "I came in with a few guys in this room that feel like brothers. Our goal is to win here.

"Hopefully we can work on something 16 months from now but it's good to get this one."

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