The Oilers defenseman, apparently taking issue with Polak’s interference penalty on Matt Hendricks a few minutes earlier, grabbed the San Jose blueliner as he was going off on a line change. Polak didn’t get a chance to drop his gloves before Nurse delivered a couple straight right hands to Polak’s face.
Oddly, Nurse wasn’t given an instigator on the play, although he did receive a fighting major and roughing minor. Polak got a fighting major, too, despite not throwing any punches.
Logan Couture saw the whole thing transpire in front of him at 18:20 of the third period.
“It was terrible. I was right on the bench. Roman accidently trips [Matt] Hendricks. I guess he stepped on his stick, I don’t know. Then he’s trying to change. Nurse has the puck, shoots it at him, drops his gloves and jumps him. Roman didn’t even have his gloves off. Our guy jumped onto the ice because Roman was coming off. Then [Nurse] starts punching him and Roman couldn’t even defend himself. It’s clearly an instigator and I’m sure he’ll be suspended.”
Joe Pavelski said: “If that’s going to happen, you’d at like to at least be challenged a little bit better than that, especially so late in the game. It’s disappointing to see that."
Couture was asked if he thought it strange that Polak got a fighting major.
“Yes, and then the kid celebrated by our bench, as well. It’s kind of shocking. He’s a young kid. He’ll learn.”
Sharks coach DeBoer was perplexed, too.
“That’s the definition of instigator, isn’t it? You’ll have to go down the hall and ask [the referees].”
Immediately after the play, DeBoer was visibly upset and was seen barking at the officials. The Sharks were issued a bench minor for abuse of officials at 19:05 of the third.
“It’s probably the way you say it they probably don’t like,” DeBoer said, with a chuckle.
Earlier in the third, Polak and Hendricks got tangled up while pursuing a loose puck. Hendricks fell hard into the boards, took a few moments to get off of the ice, and did not return. Polak was called for interference at 16:11, despite pleading his innocence.
In 63 games this season, Polak has 13 points (1g, 12a) and 63 penalty minutes with the Sharks and Maple Leafs.