The Edmonton Oilers will be without their top defenseman for their upcoming game after he was suspended for one game by the NHL Department of Player Safety for a hit deemed to be dangerous.
The incident occurred in the second period of the Oilers’ game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. As Ducks forward Max Jones was skating into the Oilers’ zone with the puck, he was met by a hard hit from Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse. The hit knocked Jones to the ice, and he appeared to be dazed as he got up.
The hit was reviewed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, who determined that Nurse made contact with Jones’ head and neck area, which is a violation of Rule 48 – Illegal Check to the Head. Nurse was given a match penalty on the play and was ejected from the game.
Nurse has been a key player for the Oilers this season, logging heavy minutes on the blue line and contributing offensively with four goals and 11 assists in 25 games. His absence will be felt by the team as they try to continue their strong start to the season.
In a statement released by the NHL, the Department of Player Safety explained their decision to suspend Nurse for one game. “While we acknowledge that Nurse did not target Jones’ head, the onus is on the player delivering the hit to avoid contact with the head and neck area. Nurse made significant and forceful contact with Jones’ head and neck, causing an injury that required medical attention.”
Nurse will miss Edmonton’s game against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. He will be eligible to return to the lineup when the Oilers take on the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
This suspension serves as a reminder to all players that hits to the head are not acceptable in today’s NHL. The league has made player safety a top priority, and they will not hesitate to discipline players who violate the rules. As the Oilers continue their season, they will need to be mindful of their physical play and avoid any actions that could lead to suspension or injury.