Comrie, Brule lace up for Oilers

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:33 PM ET

Mike Comrie and Gilbert Brule are in and Patrick O'Sullivan and Zack Stortini are out for tonight's game against the St. Louis Blues.

Now that he finally has enough healthy bodies to award playing time based on merit, head coach Pat Quinn is able to use the press box as a motivational tool.

For much of this season, when there were barely enough healthy bodies to ice a full team, players knew they'd be in the lineup no matter what.

Now they have to play their way in.

"When the expectation is it doesn't matter how I play I'm going to be in the lineup, certain words aren't being heard," said Quinn, adding there were any number of candidates to sit this one out.

"If that's the slap on the hand or the strap or whatever you want to call it, there are certain ways that coaches have to try to reach people to help them be better players down the road."

By no means is O'Sullivan the worst Oilers forward, but with one point in his last five games, he's out.

"The point is I can be a lot better," he said. "I need to take more responsibility as a top player on the team, that's what they want and that's what I know I'm capable of. That's the message. It's embarrassing and I don't want to be in this situation. The next game I play I have a point of my own I can prove."

As for the players coming in, Quinn hopes Comrie, who's been out two months with mono, and Brule, out seven games with stomach issues, can inject some life and offence into a team in dire need of both.

"You hope that's the case," said Quinn. "Those are the gifts that both of them have. That's what they've done. You'd like to think that on a team that's not creating offence right now, the addition of guys who will make the team play a little bit on the defensive side of the game will help us get a better result."


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