Oilers' Nurse: Players must emulate MJ, create 'own fire' in empty arenas

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Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse could take a page out of Michael Jordan's playbook to get himself fired up to play inside empty arenas.

As shown in "The Last Dance," a docuseries that follows the end of the Chicago Bulls' dynasty in 1997-98, Jordan would sometimes exaggerate narratives to motivate himself for a game. Whether it was another player winning MVP or an opponent talking trash, he'd play to prove he was the best. Nurse thinks something of that nature may prove useful when the NHL returns without fans.

"You see (Jordan's) mindset ... creating your own environment, creating your own fire," Nurse told Joshua Clipperton of The Canadian Press. "I think that's a test everyone in this situation is going to have to go through. Having the ability to create your own excitement."

Nurse's teammate, Connor McDavid, understands that playing games without spectators is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19 but admits it'll be odd not to hear raucous crowds during the postseason.

"It's not going to be the same, there's no doubt about that," McDavid said. "It sucks, frankly, but we've got to do it to get back to playing hockey. I'm sure those fans will be cheering loud in their living rooms.

"It'll suck, but we gotta do what we gotta do."

NHL training camps are set to open July 10. It's still unclear when games will resume, but the Oilers will take on the Chicago Blackhawks in a best-of-five qualifying series to advance to the first round of the playoffs.

Oilers' Nurse: Players must emulate MJ, create 'own fire' in empty arenas
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