SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers Brule ready to rumble

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:43 AM ET

Despite his size, or perhaps lack thereof, Gilbert Brule is not averse to dropping the mitts.

On Friday night, the Edmonton Oilers forward had little choice as Detroit Red Wings defenceman Jonathan Ericsson jumped him in defence of a teammate.

Ericsson took exception to a hit Brule laid on Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk in the second period of Detroit’s 3-1 victory at Rexall Place.

“I think Datsyuk just lost an edge right before I hit him and I figured someone would be coming after me, after I hit him,” Brule said. “I wasn’t surprised, I was looking for someone right away.”

After delivering the hit, which sent Datsyuk flying into the boards, Brule was grabbed by Ericsson, who tips the scales at six-foot-four, 220 pounds.

The five-foot-11, 186-pound Brule had to eat a few uppercuts before getting loose and then unloaded a couple of left-handed hooks of his own.

“He grabbed me and got a couple of shots in, although he never hit me in the face,” Brule said. “The refs came in pretty quick and I was able to get a couple of shots in. I think I even hit the linesmen in the face, too.”

Because Ericsson had jumped Brule after the hit, therefore earning an instigating penalty, the linesman attempted to jump in immediately to break up the fight.

Unfortunately for Ericsson, he was pulled off and had his hands tied up, allowing Brule to get in a couple of free lefts that connected right on the button.

“He (the linesman) made a mistake coming in and grabbing both my arms,” said Ericsson. “I was just about to let go when he came in and he just grabbed me, I guess.

“I guess he learned from that and maybe next time he’ll try to get in between the guys instead of grabbing just one of us. It can be dangerous if you just kind of handcuff one guy and I think he ended up taking a punch, too. Luckily, nothing serious happened.”

Apart from the minor, during which the Oilers went on to score their only goal of the contest, Ericsson had to serve his fighting major and also a 10-minute misconduct.

However, it was a price he was willing to pay in order to protect one of his team’s best players.

“From my point of view, it looked like an ugly hit,” Ericsson said. “Obviously, he didn’t get a penalty for it, but it seemed like he didn’t hold up at all and he kind of went after him.

“He (Datsyuk) is our best player and we have to try and protect him.”

Brule’s hit sparked the Oilers who had been chasing the Red Wings all over the ice to that point.

Datsyuk himself seem to lose interest in the contest after threatening on a number of occasions prior to that point.

“I think that was the right time in the game for us,” Brule said. “We were down a goal and looking to come back in the game.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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