SUN Hockey Pool

Brule's season finished

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:56 AM ET

PHOENIX — It’s going down as the worst season in franchise history, and it’s almost over anyway, but Gilbert Brule kind of wanted to see it through.

That’s not going to happen now that he’s done for the year with a sprained ankle, joining eight of his teammates on the injured list.

“It’s been kind of amazing, really, the type of adverse things that have happened to this group of athletes this year, losing bodies like that,” said head coach Pat Quinn.

“But Gilbert, at the end of the season, will be able to know that he’s made some progress and hopefully that will continue.”

The end of the season for Brule came Friday in Dallas when he got tangled up with Brian Sutherby and Kari Lehtonen in the Stars’ net.

“When I first stepped on it I thought my tendon maybe popped a little or something was moving around in there,” said Brule, wearing crutches and a plastic brace. “It made me concerned at first, but once we got the X-ray and found it wasn’t broken, it was good.”

With a career-high 17 goals, Brule was second in team scoring in what had been a breakout year for the 23-year-old former first-round draft pick.

“Obviously I’m really disappointed. I had some goals that I wanted to reach and it’s not going to happen anymore,” said Brule, who was hoping to join the 20-goal club.

“It’s tough. I really wanted to finish strong, get some goals, get some points and some wins for our team.”

Between the ankle and multiple bouts with the flu and other ailments, he was limited to 65 games this year, but made great strides from the guy who spent most of last year in the minors.

“You like to see kids who are making some progress continue that,” said Quinn. “He’s had a respectable season, way beyond expectations, I think, in terms of production. And he was improving in other areas of the game that will help him be a valuable member of our team. That’s the disappointing part, that it won’t continue.”

SIX IS ENOUGH: After back-to-back rough nights, going minus six in the two games against Detroit and Dallas, Ryan Potulny spent Saturday night in the press box.

“He’s been way off his game, the standard has fallen,” said Quinn. “He’s had a good year for us, to have it go south on him at this point. He has to suck it up and be better the next few games.”

Quinn thinks it’s more a case of fatigue and being too comfortable.

“The tank is a little down, I think. We’ve played him a lot. We’ve had him in some important roles and this last two weeks has kind of been a tough time for him.

“I don’t get the sense that he was full of himself in anyway; I’m putting my feet up on the desk because I’m here. I think he’s just off.”

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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