You’d like to think that a Darnell Nurse professional hockey debut were as great as your first ride in a brand new car. The polish so shiny that it burns your eyes in the noon day sun. The hardware so pristine that you’d rather not put a solitary finger print on the gear shift. The interior is rigid, uncomfortable in its newness, but the aroma infectious. The seats are too high, too low, too prostrate, so you tweak the living daylights out of the mechanical seat shifting buttons.
Despite the perfect hue to the entire situation, your new car isn’t really your car until you spill an Arnold Palmer in the center console, and the kids throw Cheerios from the nose to the aft. It takes time.
Nurse, and his hotly anticipated debut as an Oiler pro came as the OKC Barons desperately need two points. Playing on the road in Abbotsford, a notoriously unkind sanctuary for OKC, he survived his debut.
Let’s begin with his first shift, paired with Taylor Fedun (Gernat scratched). He gloriously allowed a forward to quickly inch behind him, and the Heat scored on their first shot of the game in the first period. This would be a lighthouse moment for Nurse to look back on, and simply suggest, “It can’t get much worse than that.”
Indeed, the early jitters would get the best of Darnell who was snorkeling in the deep end during a Nor’easter. Wildly out if place, passionately nervous, and seemingly discombobulated, he stumbled out of the gate. No doubt. Yet there is a player in there.
Despite his indiscretions on this night, he has admirable qualities. He’s quick footed, much more than I expected. He has a shifty nature to his posture that works well with good mitts, and great vision. Although we didn’t see it tonight, he does seem to be a different type of defender. Equal parts puck mover, and sturdy wrangler, he will likely be just fine. He doesn’t really have a choice.
Friday night stats in Abbotsford:
Four shots on goal, -2 rating, was on ice for first and third (game winning) goals.