Oilers nurse Darnell earns King Clancy Trophy nomination
On Wednesday, May 4, the NHL announced that Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse was nominated for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy.
The award is given annually “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made an outstanding humanitarian contribution to his community.” Each of the league’s 32 teams selects a candidate, from which three finalists will be named for the 2021-22 NHL Awards.
Nurse is highly deserving of his nomination, and it’s nice to see him receive such recognition considering he’s not always really appreciated in Oil Country these days.
The 27-year-old defenseman has become something of a lightning rod in Edmonton. His play hasn’t been at the same level as during his breakout campaign last season, making him an easy target for critical detractors of the eight-year, $74 million contract extension Nurse signed. last August.
Fans may be mad at the size of the expansion (which starts next season), but that was the going rate for best-matched defenders after the market was established at the start of last offseason when the The Colorado Avalanche re-signed Cale Makar for six years at $54. million and Seth Jones signed an eight-year, $76 million extension with the Chicago Blackhawks. Will Nurse’s case prove gross overpayment? Could this actually turn into a bargain? Something in between? Only time will tell.
All of this is irrelevant. The thing is, there’s a lot to celebrate now about Nurse, someone the Oilers as a team and Edmonton as a city are blessed to have. This is highlighted by the King Clancy Memorial Award.
Nursing leadership on and off the ice
The 2021-22 season was Nurse’s third as an alternate captain for the Oilers, and he’s increasingly showing traits worthy of wearing the “C” as a leader for example.
Prior to the arrival of Evander Kane, who joined Edmonton after signing as a free agent Jan. 27, Nurse was the only Oiler who could be relied on to defend his teammates. Nurse continues to be a workhorse, leading the Oilers in ice time by a whopping 25:03 per game, including 21:08 at even strength, which is fourth in the NHL. He’s not afraid to throw himself into the line of fire, leading the Oilers in blocked shots (132 in 71 games) as well as hits (196).
Related: Edmonton Oilers 2021-22 Season Awards
There was a stretch early in the season when the Oilers soared with just two wins in 15 games between Dec. 3 and Jan. 20. Edmonton’s post-game media availabilities grew increasingly strained as the same nasty questions were asked over and over again. The nurse was perhaps most often in a hurry to answer questions, which he handled with unerring composure and a certain frankness.
Contributions of nurses to the community
Edmonton has been Nurse’s home since he was recalled from the Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League (AHL) at the start of the 2015-16 season. He put down roots in Edmonton, and now in Hamilton, Ontario. the product gives back to the community.
Over the past year, Nurse has partnered with Free Play for Kids, an organization that provides sports programs for disadvantaged children in Edmonton and helps give more young people from marginalized communities the opportunity to play hockey. Plus, the free kids game “Darnell Nurse Captain of the Week” has the chance to go to an Oilers game.
Free Play For Kids founder Tim Adams is detailed in the Edify magazine article as being amazed by Nurse’s passion for the program, which is not the case for a professional athlete supporting a charity alone. for positive PR: “In every meeting we’ve had, his authenticity shines through,” Adams said.
Nurse hasn’t forgotten about Hamilton either. He created a program at his former high school, St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary, which awards two $40,000 scholarships each year to students in need of financial assistance for post-secondary education.
Celebrate the nurse for her personal qualities
There’s no shortage of top-earning players who didn’t want to be in Edmonton because of the kind of scrutiny Nurse now faces. The 27-year-old defenseman knew what he was getting into when he signed overtime, but he’s shown he’s committed to Edmonton – the team and the city.
It’s a fair comment to say that a player is not respecting his contract. It is not fair to judge or treat the person under the helmet on their performance as a player. What’s great about this award is that it allows a player to be recognized for their quality of character.
The 2022 King Clancy Memorial Trophy finalists will be announced on May 20. The award has been won by an Oilers player three times: Kevin Lowe in 1990, Ethan Moreau in 2009 and Andrew Ference in 2004.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports journalist and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sportscaster for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the 2013-14 Edmonton Oil Kings Memorial Cup championship season.