Oilers News & Rumors: Nurse, Smith, Koskinen, Holloway

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there are reports surfacing that defenseman Darnell Nurse is dealing with a serious injury. How bad is it and will he play the entire series against Calgary? A few other players were either missing from this morning’s skate because of injuries or illness, but what lineup will head coach Jay Woodcroft go with after a 9-6 loss in Game 1?

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Meanwhile, there’s news about the goaltending as Mike Smith will get the start in Game 2 and Mikko Koskinen apparently has a deal for next season in Switzerland. Finally, will Dylan Holloway get serious consideration for ice time in the series?

Nurse Dealing With Serious Injury

As per a report by Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, Nurse is dealing with a serious injury. It has affected his play, the minutes Woodcroft is giving him, and how much he may play in this series moving forward. Seravalli called it a core injury that might require offseason surgery.

Darnell Nurse OIlers
Darnell Nurse, Edmonton Oilers, Oct. 21, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The NHL insider took a look at Nurse’s effectiveness in Game 1 and wrote:

“Nurse failed to register a hit in Game 1 and appeared to be more tentative than usual, especially in and around his own net, where his physical presence is usually felt most. How could you expect him to be anything but if that is indeed the injury? Everything a player does – from skating, to leverage, to shooting, is generated and stabilized through the core.”

If Nurse’s minutes are way down again in Game 2 and he’s on the ice for a number of goals against with Flames players burning past him on a regular basis, the Oilers might shift their focus towards Philip Broberg. Broberg took the morning skate in place of Tyson Barrie, who reports note hasn’t been feeling very well.

Draisaitl Still Labouring

While he looked quick on his goal in the second period against Calgary in Game 1, Leon Draisaitl is still being hampered by an ankle injury that kept him off the ice for this morning’s skate with the team. Devin Shore was on the top line as a placeholder during practice and Draisaitl is expected to play. The Oilers just aren’t going to put him on the ice any more than they need to.

Does Mikko Koskinen Have Deal In Swiss League?

According to a report by SwissHockeynews.ch, Mikko Koskinen already has a deal in place for next season to play with the HC Lugano team in Switzerland. It is an interesting report if true because it suggests Koskinen isn’t even going to test the free-agent market in the NHL this summer. That is a bit of a surprise considering the market is not chalked full of viable options for a number of teams who want to upgrade at that position.

Mike Smith to Start Game 2

Speaking of goaltenders, it was made clear right away that Mike Smith was going to get the start in Game 2 after allowing three goals on 10 shots in Game 1. He was pulled early in the third period and some are wondering if fatigue is starting to set in or if that game was just a blip on the radar for the entire Oilers team, including Smith.

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Mark Spector of Sportsnet tweeted, “It’s been 5 years since Mike Smith started nine games in a row.” If Smith is shaky in Game 2, it will be intriguing to see if Woodcroft goes back to Koskinen (who wasn’t much better) or Stuart Skinner who was called up from Bakersfield.

Could Holloway Play?

As per TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, “Lots of chatter about Holloway, my sense is it’s not a route the Oilers are going to go in Game 2.” It appears instead that the Oilers will go with Warren Foegele, but the depth forwards will have a short leash with Holloway getting serious consideration as the series rolls on.

There were a number of forwards not engaged in Game 1 and that can’t happen again in Game 2. The one thing Hollway will bring is speed and enthusiasm. There may be fewer players in the system that would love an opportunity to show what they can do.