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Edmonton's Nurse Suspended One Game For Headbutt

Oilers' defenseman Darnell Nurse has been suspended one game for head-butting Kings' forward Philip Danault.
Darnell Nurse

A massive loss for the Oilers heading into a do-or-die Game 6. 

The NHL Department of Player Safety announced on Wednesday that Oilers' defenseman Darnell Nurse has been suspended one game for headbutting Kings' forward Philip Danault during Game 5 of the two teams' first-round playoff series on Tuesday night. 

Nurse, who has averaged the most ice time of any Oiler through the first five games of the series, will now be unavailable on Thursday as his team prepared to face elimination, on the road, with their season hanging in the balance. 

For such an important player to commit such a reckless act, it could not have come at a less opportune time. And it simply did not need to happen. 

With less than 15 seconds remaining in the second period, and directly after Mike Smith had just swallowed up a loose puck to stop play and quell a Kings' power-play attack that had been rolling to that point, Nurse targetted Danault with a headbutt that made principal contact with his bare jaw, risking serious injury in such an unnecessary way. 

Nurse is too vital a player to be taking himself out of entire playoff games for such rudimentary reasons. The Oilers will now face the long odds of keeping their season alive in enemy territory against a formidable opponent while in enemy territory. 

Obviously, Nurse will be eligible to return for a possible Game 7. But the Oilers have to force one first. And after Nurse's suspension, the odds do not appear to be in their favor. 

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