Oilers' Darnell Nurse: 'It's hard for the NBA to shut down and for us to justify being out there'

Athletes across all sports have had to get creative finding workout routines with team facilities closed across North America due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse's training hasn't diminished during the NHL pause, though.

"I love working out so you take the game away or a gym away, I'll still find a way to do it one way or another," Nurse said. "I do a lot of work now so there's been challenges, but the backyard becomes your friend, power block weights become your friend and a couple runs with the dog so we're working on cardio, me and Arya."

The NHL regular-season finale would've been Saturday with the Battle of Alberta headlining the day's slate. Nurse said it was hard for him not to think about it.

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"Yeah, you think about it, you think about every game not just the one at the end of the year and I know what point we could have been at this date, but when they have the virus it puts a big reality check for you as a player and as a human being.

"You're worried about just keeping everyone safe so there's a lot of thoughts that obviously you know what it would have been like to play that last game, where we would have been at this point but at the same token, you can just look around and see the world now in this."

Nurse said there was some chatter of the developments happening before their March 11 game against the Winnipeg Jets as the NBA was suspending their season. Considering how much overlap there is in arenas and hotels between NBA and NHL teams, the Oilers alternate captain saw only one possible outcome for the NHL.

"It's hard for them [NBA] to shut down and for us to justify being out there on the ice and putting our fans in the same environment," Nurse said. "It was a tough night, tough day because you're so invested at that point as you're playing every day. You're kind of just in autopilot and all of the sudden, no."

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The six-year veteran is Edmonton's NHLPA representative and was asked about whether the players would be receiving their final paychecks later this month. Nurse said it's important that the players are united in whatever they decide.

"At a time like this, there's so much uncertainty. We're a team, everyone's working together so you got to take into account everyone's situation, not just one guy's situation or your own personal situation. You have to think of everyones. That'll come into play when that decision is made, but there's still a lot of factors being discussed."

If the season resumes, Nurse hopes to be playing in front of his hometown fans, but he's willing to play anywhere. Edmonton entered the pause in second place in the Pacific Division.

"It's kind of conflicting because as players, this is our job. But at the same time, we have a very loyal fanbase who comes out and supports us each and every night, who's been hungry for us to be in this position that we've been in for a long time. You want to reward them by being able to play in front of them and that's kind of the conflict. I'm sure, no matter where it is, they'll bring out the best now."