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Oilers notes: No quick remedy to Darnell Nurse contract impasse

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Unsigned defenceman Darnell Nurse didn’t want his nose pressed up against the glass at the first Edmonton Oilers practice Friday so flew back to his summer home in Ontario before the team’s fitness and physical testing Thursday.

The Oilers have offered a two-year bridge deal to the defenceman, reportedly for at least $3 million a season, but Nurse, who averaged the second most minutes (22:14) on the Oilers blue line last season to Oscar Klefbom’s 22:50, presumably wants north of that.

How much north? Maybe there’s $500,000 difference, with both sides dug in.

P.K. Subban got his $5.75 million, two-year bridge deal in Montreal in 2013.

When Jake Trouba got one in Winnipeg in 2017, it was $6 million over two years.

But the landscape has changed and bridge deals might be in the $3.5 mil a year range. Vegas hasn’t signed Shea Theodore and Winnipeg hasn’t signed fellow defender Josh Morrissey either yet to possible two-year bridge contracts, so it’s a waiting game for those teams too.

“We have a disagreement on what Darnell’s value is and at this time there’s no meeting of the minds,” said Nurse’s agent Anton Thun, who feels there’s no reason for Nurse to stay in Edmonton now.

“He’s not under contract with the Oilers. He’s gone back to train where he did all summer, training in the same rink and gym. He can skate with a university or junior team. He won’t be skating by himself,” said Thun, who doesn’t feel Nurse, because of his age (24) is losing that much by not being in camp right now.

“If he didn’t know who his defence partners were or didn’t know the team, it would be important to be on the ice learning the ropes but this is his fourth year in the organization.”

Trouba missed 13 games before signing. That’s not what Thun has in mind.

“We don’t want this turning into Trouba, but we strongly disagree with Edmonton’s assessment of the marketplace today,” said Thun, who doesn’t think it’s “a coincidence” that neither Nurse, nor Theodore, nor Morrissey has signed yet.

“There’s enough indicators to what Darnell does for the Edmonton Olers, irrespective of what Theodore or Morrissey does for Vegas and Winnipeg.

“It’s logical that bridge money has come up. P.K.’s deal was long ago,” said Thun.

“Our ask didn’t go up with (Andrej) Sekera getting hurt. Our discussions to Darnell’s value haven’t changed all summer. I don’t think Darnell’s value in the marketplace should be tied to one defenceman getting injured,” he said.

It’s not like the Oilers and Nurse are a million dollars apart.

“But we’re significantly apart to make it worthwhile,” said Thun.

The Oilers only have $3.9 million in cap space today, but do have a possible $5.5 million long-term injury situation with Sekera, which they could use as long as he is out with his torn Achilles.

“It’s not fun to go through these things … it’s part of the business,” said Connor McDavid, who rooms with Nurse. “We hope there’s a deal done quickly that’s fair to both sides. Can’t say more than that.”

Oilers coach Todd McLellan would rather see Nurse on the ice, but he’s the coach, not the GM.

“Darnell’s a helluva player and we all want him to be here but he’s also a businessman,” he said.

“I don’t think you ever want to miss anything … when you’re hurt, when you’re not in camp, when you’re suspended. It can’t help but we’re not going to fix right now. Players and coaches.”

UPSHALL FAILS PHYSICAL

Former Blues forward Scottie Upshall is in camp on a tryout but will not be allowed on the ice after failing his physical due to a troublesome knee after he apparently hurt it during formal on-ice practices.

His medical iffiness may be why the Oilers brought in former Washington Capitals winger Alex Chiasson, who played 16 post-season games for the Stanley Cup champs, on a look-see.

NEW LOOK FOR MCDAVID

The hirsute McDavid, with much longer blond locks than his first three NHL seasons, plus a playoff beard to kick off training camp, thinks it’s much ado about nothing.

“Whatever … there’s nothing to it,” laughed McDavid. “It’s not like I was planning this. I just let it go.”

And the playoff facial hair?

“I’ve got a beard. No big deal,” he shrugged.

McDavid looks as fit as ever, although he joked; “I’m not going to blow the bench press out of the water.”

This ’n that: The Oilers still have to be NHL compliant with the 23-man max player roster as of Oct. 3 when the league kicks off, even though they’ll be playing an exhibition in Cologne that day with their first league action Oct. 6 in Gothenburg, Sweden against the New Jersey Devils. The Oilers can take over a third goalie to guard against injury overseas but that’s it.

E-mail: jmatheson@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @NHLbyMatty


The latest Oil Spills podcast: Oilers prospects hit training camp

Host Craig Ellingson talks to hockey writers Rob Tychkowski and Derek Van Diest about the opening of camp and what we’ll be looking to see from prospects and veterans alike as players report and train for the upcoming 2018-19 NHL campaign.

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Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks RECAP, SCORE & FANTASY STATS | NFL Scores Week 11

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The NFC North Green Bay Packers (4-4-1), led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers, met the NFC West Seattle Seahawks (4-5), led by quarterback Russell Wilson, in a Week 11 NFL football game on Thursday, November 15, 2018 (11/15/18) at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.

Here are our picks and predictions for the game.

Check the scoreboard above for the final score and click on the stats link for game stats.

App users: For the best mobile experience, use the mobile web version.

Here’s the AP recap:

SEATTLE (AP) — After a shaky beginning, Russell Wilson got hot in the fourth quarter, Bobby Wagner and Seattle’s defense stymied Aaron Rodgers and the Seahawks stayed in the middle of the NFC playoff race.

“We’ve been through so much throughout this season it was time to get over the hump,” Wagner said. “We’ve been down, we’ve been up, we’ve lost close games, we’ve won close games. It was time.”

Wilson threw for 225 yards and his 15-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 left was the difference in the Seahawks’ 27-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

In a key matchup in the battle for the two NFC wild-card spots, Seattle (5-5) snapped a two-game losing streak by overcoming an early 14-3 deficit. Wilson was inconsistent at times early, but was outstanding in the fourth quarter, capping the winning drive by recognizing a blitz and hitting Dickson quickly for his second TD pass of the night.

“I thought that whole drive was pretty exceptional. … When it came down to it, third-down, you’ve got to win in the red-zone and we were pretty clutch in the red-zone there at the end of the game,” Wilson said.

Seattle still has not lost three straight games since the middle of the 2011 season and the Seahawks finally closed out a one-score victory after consecutive close losses to the Chargers and Rams. Seattle was 1-8 in its previous nine games decided by one score.

Rodgers had a huge first half and threw for 332 yards, but the Packers (4-5-1) had just one scoring drive in the second half, helped by a 57-yard strike from Rodgers to Davante Adams. Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first half, but never got the ball back after Green Bay punted with 4:20 left. Seattle got first-down runs from Wilson and Mike Davis and finished the game kneeling three times.

“It was definitely consideration, but with the one time out and the clock stopped at two minutes, we played the numbers,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.

Chris Carson rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown, overcoming the mistake of fumbling on the first play of the game and setting up Green Bay’s opening score. Tyler Lockett had two key receptions late in the fourth quarter and Doug Baldwin had his first TD catch of the season for Seattle.

Rodgers was 21-of-30 passing with 10 of those going to Adams for 166 yards receiving. Backup tight end Robert Tonyan had the first catch of his career go for a 54-yard touchdown to give Green Bay an early 14-3 lead. The Packers led 21-17 at halftime after Aaron Jones caught a 24-yard TD pass from Rodgers in the final minute of the half, but Green Bay’s offense was stymied in the second half.

“Of course there’s hope. Of course we believe in each other,” Rodgers said. “It’s just going to take one galvanizing moment, whether that’s a speech or a practice or something happens in the game, something’s got to get this thing going.”

Jones finished with 40 yards rushing after going for a career-high 145 a week ago. Rodgers was sacked five times, four of those in the second half. The Packers gained just 114 yards in the second half, half coming on the one throw from Rodgers to Adams. That pass set up Mason Crosby’s 36-yard field goal with 8:23 left to give Green Bay a 24-20 lead.

Wilson had one more answer. Wilson hit Lockett on consecutive plays for 18 yards — to convert a third-down — and 34 yards to the Green Bay 16. Two plays later, facing another third-and-long, Wilson recognized the blitz and hit Dickson quickly over the middle to put Seattle in front.

That proved to be enough. On Green Bay’s next drive, Rodgers short-hopped a pass on third-and-2.

“The ball just stuck to my hand and went in the dirt,” Rodgers said. “Frustrating obviously, I can do that a hundred times and probably not do that again.

Rather than going for it on fourth-down, Green Bay punted and never got the ball back.

“I have faith in this team so I’m going to be an aggressive caller and go for it and say that we’ll get it, but at the same time, you have to be realistic and I agree with coaches call 100 percent put it back on the defense,” Adams said. “It was tough, they have a great running game, they made a play and that’s how it unfolded.”

INJURIES

Green Bay was down four starters with CB Kevin King, S Kentrell Brice, LB Nick Perry and WR Randall Cobb all out due to injuries. They lost two more in the first half when Bashaud Breeland — starting for King — aggravated a groin injury and Jimmy Graham injured his thumb. Graham had a 13-yard reception on Green Bay’s first offensive play in his return to Seattle, but that was his only catch.

Mike Daniels suffered a foot injury early in the second half and backup safety Raven Greene suffered an ankle injury. Neither returned.

ROAD WOES

The Packers dropped to 0-5 on the road this season and have lost seven straight away from Lambeau Field dating to last season.

UP NEXT

Packers: At Minnesota on Nov. 25.

Seahawks: At Carolina on Nov. 25.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who: Packers vs. Seahawks

What: NFL, Week 11

When: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018

Where: CenturyLink Field

Time: 8:20 p.m. Eastern

TV: Fox/NFL

Livestream: fuboTVFox Sports Go

Line: Seahawks -2.5 (Over/under: 49)

Packers notes: QB AARON RODGERS threw 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 112.1 rating last week. Passed for 311 yards in last meeting. Has 10 pass TDs vs. 2 INTs for 101.5 rating in 7 career starts vs. Sea. In his past 4 on road, has 1,252 pass yards (313 per game) with 8 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 98.5 rating. Is 1 of 2 QBs in 2018 (DREW BREES) with 15+ TD passes (17) & less than 2 INTs (1). Has 7 TD passes vs. 0 INTs for 114.1 rating in his past 2 Thursday games. * RB AARON JONES had career-high 172 scrimmage yards (145 rush, 27 rec.) & 2 rush TDs, his 1st-career multiTD game, in Week 10. Aims for his 3rd in row on road with 85+ scrimmage yards. Had rush TD in only career Thursday game (9/28/17 vs. Chi.). * WR DAVANTE ADAMS had 2 rec. TDs last week. Had 104 rec. yards & TD catch in 12/11/16 meeting. Has 16 rec. TDs in his past 14 on road & has TD in 12 of past 14 road games. Since 2016, ties for NFL lead with 31 TD catches. WR RANDALL COBB had TD catch in last game at Sea. Aims for his 3rd in row on Thursday with TD. TE JIMMY GRAHAM has 4 rec. TDs in his past 5 Thursday games. Had rec. TD in his last game vs. Sea. (12/2/13 with NO). Had 18 TD catches in 3 seasons with Sea. (2015-17). * LB BLAKE MARTINEZ led team with 9 tackles last week. Has 4 TFL & 3 sacks in his past 3 on road. In 2 career Thursday games, has 12 tackles, FR & INT. DT MIKE DANIELS had 7 tackles, 1.5 sacks & FF in last meeting. 

NFL power rankings

Seahawks notes: QB RUSSELL WILSON passed for 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs for 123.2 rating & had 92 rush yards in Week 10. Has 4 pass TDs vs. 0 INTs for 105.9 rating in 2 career home meetings. Has 13 TDs vs. 1 INT for 103.8 rating in his past 6 at home. In his past 6 Thursday games, is 6-0 with 12 pass TDs vs. 3 INTs for 111.9 rating. * RB CHRIS CARSON has 457 scrimmage yards (91.4 per game) & rush TD in 5 career home games. Has 100+ scrimage yards in 3 of his past 5. RB MIKE DAVIS had 1st-career rec. TD last week. Has 182 scrimmage yards (91 per game) & rush TD in his past 2 at home. Rookie RB RASHAAD PENNY had career-high 108 rush yards & 1st-career rush TD last week. * WR TYLER LOCKETT had TD catch in Week 10. Has TD catch in 2 of 3 career Thursday games. Has 2 rec. TDs in his past 3 at home. WR DAVID MOORE has 2 TD catches in 2 career home games. TE NICK VANNETT aims for his 3rd in row with TD catch. * DE FRANK CLARK has 5 sacks, 2 FFs & FR in his past 4. Has 2 sacks, FF & INT in his past 3 at home. Aims for 3rd in row at home with TFL. CB SHAQUILL GRIFFIN had led team with career-high 10 tackles in last meeting. LB BOBBY WAGNER led team with 13 tackles last week. Aims for his 3rd in row with 13+ tackles & his 6th in row vs. GB with 8+ tackles. Has 29 tackles (9.7 per game) & 5 PD in his past 3 at home. — NFL Communications

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15 numbers that show how the Seahawks saved their season, and the Packers potentially lost theirs

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The Seahawks continued the trend of home teams winning on Thursday Night Football as they beat the Packers, 27-24, in Seattle. It was an exciting game to kick off Week 11 in the NFL, but Aaron Rodgers was unable to lead a game-winning drive as the Packers punted away the ball while trailing by three with 4:20 on the clock and never saw the ball again on offense. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks squeaked out a win and evened their record to 5-5.

Here’s a by-the-numbers look to catch you up on all the action and explain how the Seahawks came away with the victory.

15:00: On the first play of the game, Chris Carson fumbled away the ball for the Seahawks. The Packers quickly took advantage with a three-play, 29-yard drive that ended in an Aaron Jones touchdown run. It ended up being the only turnover in the game.

47: Yards on a Mason Crosby missed field goal in the first quarter. It would have given the Packers a 10-0 lead. It also was the difference in a loss or a potential tie score at the end of the game. The Packers are certainly wishing they had those three points now that they’re 4-5-1 on the season.

54: Rodgers threw a beautiful 54-yard touchdown pass to Robert Tonyan. If you’re asking yourself, “who’s Robert Tonyan?” you’re not alone. He had never caught a pass in the NFL prior to the touchdown score. The undrafted rookie went to Indiana State and landed the final tight end roster spot in Green Bay after an impressive preseason.

6: Opportunities in the red zone on a single drive before the Seahawks scored their first touchdown of the game. It started with no gain on first-and-8, then there was a Packers face mask penalty, followed by a Seahawks false start, then a 1-yard gain, an incomplete pass, and ultimately a 6-yard Doug Baldwin touchdown catch.

100%: The Seahawks went for it on fourth down twice in the first half and converted on both opportunities. The first was a fourth-and-1 play on which Carson ran for 10 yards and the second was to close out the half. Wilson threw a 15-yard pass, but it wasn’t enough for a touchdown as time ran out. The halftime score was 21-17 in the Packers’ favor.

156.2: Rodgers was nearly perfect in the first half. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. His first-half passer rating was just six-tenths of a point shy of perfect.

3.0: All three of the sacks that brought down Wilson came from Packers linebacker Kyler Fackrell, who had a great game. He tied a Packers record for most games in a single season with 3+ sacks, as Thursday was the second time he’s done that this season.

5.0: The Seahawks sacked Rodgers five times, two of which came from Frank Clark.

48: The Packers only had 48 rushing yards, which is odd considering how productive Aaron Jones was in the first half. Jones ran the ball 11 times for 40 yards and a touchdown and caught five passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. By the end of the second quarter he had scored two touchdowns, but in the second half, he totaled just 21 rushing yards and 2 receiving yards. The Packers had the lead for nearly all of the second half, so the decision to abandon the run doesn’t make much sense.

4.9: While Jones had 40 yards, Carson averaged 4.9 yards per carry. Despite getting off to a shaky start with his fumble, Carson returned with better results for the Seahawks following the first drive. He finished with 83 yards and a touchdown, while Rashaad Penny contributed with 46 yards on eight carries.

7: The Seahawks have rushed for 150+ yards in seven straight games, which is tied for the third-longest streak in the last 40 seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

57: Rodgers one-upped his 54-yard touchdown pass earlier in the game with a 57-yard throw to Davante Adams. It didn’t result in a touchdown, but it was a spectacular play. A few plays later, the Packers had to settle for a field goal as they were unable to get another first down on the drive.

3: The lead changed three times in the game. The Packers had the first lead, the Seahawks stole it away in the second quarter, and the Packers reclaimed it before halftime. The Seahawks then re-captured the lead again in the fourth quarter after no one scored in the third. Seattle held on and won the game.

1: That’s how many timeouts Mike McCarthy had left in the fourth quarter, which resulted in him not challenging a play he should have challenged at the end of the game. That was a 34-yard pass to Tyler Lockett that it looked like he caught at first glance. But upon further review, the ball was clearly seen hitting and moving on the ground.


Three plays later, the Seahawks scored the game-winning touchdown.

27-24: The final score in an exciting game between two teams that have a sticky history. That includes Matt Hasselbeck’s OT declaration in the playoffs, the “Fail Mary” game, and the January 2015 NFC Championship game. Maybe this game will grow to be known for McCarthy’s decision not to throw the challenge flag.

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Carey Price back in form, leading Canadiens to 3-2 comeback win against Flames

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Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price in action against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 15, 2018.

Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

In a duel of struggling goaltenders, one returned to vintage form, while the misery continued for the other.

Carey Price backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over Mike Smith and the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, despite the visitors being outshot 45-22.

“He’s the best goalie in the world,” said Artturi Lehkonen, who scored the game-winner in the third period. “He was outstanding in the net. He was a big key as to why we won.”

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Lehkonen’s first goal in 18 games, dating back to the season-opener, came on a harmless-looking 40-foot wrist shot from off the wing that leaked through Smith’s pads.

“Bad goal, bad timing,” said Smith, who fell to 5-7-1.

Smith’s save percentage dropped to .876 on the season, which ranks 49th out of 50 goaltenders who have played six-or-more games.

“When you feel like you’ve let your team down, that’s probably the biggest frustration/disappointment that can ever happen in your career,” said the 36-year-old. “Our team played such a great game tonight and deserved a much better fate. When something happens like that and it’s on you, it’s obviously disappointing.”

It has been a tough year for Price, too, who entered the night with an .892 save percentage. Price found himself on the bench the last two games after giving up 11 goals on 63 shots in his previous two starts.

But he was back in form against Calgary.

“Just trying to stop the puck and try to read plays well and let them hit you when they come,” said Price, who improved to 6-4-3.

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Price stopped all thirteen shots he faced in the final frame as the Canadiens won for the third time when trailing after two periods.

“He’s got his reputation as Carey Price, the best goalie in the world, for a reason and we have that confidence playing in front of him and I don’t think anyone was ever worried,” said Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher.

Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Drouin also scored for Montreal (10-6-3), which has split the opening two games of its three-game Western Canada road trip. The Canadiens play in Vancouver on Saturday.

Max Domi had an assist for the Canadiens to extend his point streak to eight games (5-7-12).

Matthew Tkachuk scored both goals for Calgary (10-8-1). Tkachuk’s eighth and ninth markers of the season put him at a team-best 21 points on the season. Mark Giordano had two assists. The Flames’ four-game homestand continues Saturday when they are host to the Edmonton Oilers.

“Very, very tough,” said Tkachuk, about the setback. “It’s one of those where you don’t want a third period like that, especially when you’re up 2-1 in your building.”

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Montreal tied the game 2-2 at 8:32 of the third. After a scramble in front of the net, Smith kicked out his pad to stop Andrew Shaw’s backhander, but Drouin was right there to slide in the rebound.

“Carey stood tall in net and gave us a chance after two periods to still be in the game,” said Canadiens coach Claude Julien. “I liked the way we came out in the third. Finally we talked about it, starting to play on our toes again like we had been when things are going well.”

The Canadiens opened the scoring eight minutes into the first on another shaky one as Tatar’s shot from the slot deflected off Smith’s upper body and went into the net.

“We all have bad days at work sometimes,” said Flames defenceman Travis Hamonic, when asked about his goaltender. “We battle as a team. We win and lose as a team. It’s never on one player.”

Coming on the fifth shot Smith faced, it was the 10th time in 13 starts that he has surrendered a goal on one of the first six shots.

Notes: Flames forward Dillon Dube (upper body) is back practicing and is nearing a return. He has missed four games. Canadiens defenceman David Schlemko played in his 400th NHL game.

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