Darnell Nurse

Donovan McNabb’s nephew says it’d be ‘special’ playing for Flyers


Darnell Nurse knows about the history his uncle, former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, has with the city of Philadelphia.

In fact, it’s what makes Philadelphia special to him.

“[It’s] a great hockey and sports market,” Nurse told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “They have real passionate fans, and to play anyplace like that would be special.”

Nurse, 18, is coming off a stellar campaign with OHL Sault Ste Marie, racking up 41 points for the Greyhounds in 68 games.

At 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, he’s a physically imposing blueliner — and the No. 2 rated North American defenseman in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings.

What’s more, he models his game after two rearguards with ties to Philadelphia: Shea Weber and Chris Pronger.

“Anytime you get a guy his size, who skates as well as [Nurse] does and plays a physical game, it’s fun to watch,” NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards said, making the Nurse-Pronger comparison. “In the one game at Guelph, I saw him fight twice and he did very well in both. The fights happened while both players were going for the puck and they just got into it. He handles himself very well.

“I like everything about this guy, and defensemen like him are hard to find.”

The Flyers draft 11th overall at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, which will go on Sunday, June 30 from the Prudential Center in New Jersey.

It’s unclear if Nurse will last until the No. 11 pick — one NHL.com mock draft has him going as high as No. 6 to Calgary — but it’s clear Nurse has an affinity for Philly, thanks in large part to the 11 seasons McNabb spent with the Eagles.

“When he played, I used to go to Philadelphia for two or three games a year until I got busy with hockey,” Nurse said. “I got to see all the work he put in.

“Our relationship is really tight. We talk all the time, and he’s been a special person in my life. I go to him for advice whenever I need it.”

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.