SUN Hockey Pool

Brule seizing chances

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

He's making the most with what's been given.

But there have been situations that demand the question of why Gilbert Brule hasn't been given more?

The Oilers forward was the teams most dangerous player against the New Jersey Devils on Sunday, scoring the winning goal in a 2-0 shutout.

We have seen good stretches from him, said head coach Pat Quinn.

I think Gilbert is a good athlete. His hands are good, his feet are good. For a small man, hell compete physically.

I think hes a guy that you want to keep the game simple and allow him to use the skills that he has.

Hes been really good lately with his consistency. In some of the games his level has fallen off which is true of a lot of players who are trying to find their way. I think he still needs to identify where he fits in.

Brules goal against the Devils was his 14th on the year. Only Dustin Penner (24) has more.

Originally expected to be the Oilers fourth-line centre heading into the year, the Brule, a local product, has moved up and down the lineup all season.

I think hes a guy that can play on your supposed first line, but he can also play on the third line and contribute with that solid two-way play, said Quinn.

Id like to see him continue growing into that good, solid two-way player. Its still about positional play defensively with Gilbert.

On Sunday, Brule had success on a unit with Andrew Cogliano and Patrick OSullivan. He finished the night with three shots on net as the Oilers used their team speed effectively.

Its totally out of my control how much I play, Brule said. All I can do is try my best and do what I can on the ice.

There are times when Im only playing eight minutes a night and Im wondering why Im not playing more. I know personally, the more I play, the more into the game I am and the better I play.

Against the Devils, Brule had more than 15 minutes of ice time a little more than the 14 hes averaged this season.

But then again, nothing has come easy since he was selected sixth overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2005 Entry Draft.

Obviously, the first couple of years in the NHL were very tough, going from a first-line player in junior to a fourth-line guy, playing five or six minutes a night, he said.

I think Ive grown and matured, and I dont think I dwell on those things as much because it affects my game in a negative way.

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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