Has anyone else noticed that Gilbert Brule’s last thirteen games have all been home games? He played six games in a row between December 4, 2010 and December 16, 2010, all in Edmonton. When the Oilers left for the road, Brule got sick – Tom Renney was quoted on December 21, 2010 saying “We would bring him out on this trip if he was ready to go. But right now, he’s day-to-day. We’ll see how he is in a couple of days.”
Brule was too ill to participate in the road trip. He sat out the first game after they returned from the road trip and then played in the next four home games, scoring a pair of goals. Tom Renney explained it to Jim Matheson: “He’s got a bruised abdomen or chest. He’s had some tests and we anticipate everything will be fine. I haven’t looked at the video to know what play it was, but there was contact with somebody.” Brule took eight shifts in the third period of that game, including playing the final sixteen seconds.
We learned a bit more about his injuries on January 19, 2011:
“It’s the same ankle that was bothering me last year and I got hit pretty hard by (Milan) Jurcina in the (Jan. 6) Islanders game,” said Brule, who spent a night in hospital over concerns that he might have damaged his spleen.
“I kind of bruised between my rib line and my spleen. They had to do tests on my spleen and all this blood work in case my spleen was leaking.”
He was at the airport, all ready to fly with the team to Vancouver when he began feeling dizzy and started sweating. That’s when they shut him down.
On February 2, 2011, the Oilers had a home game after the All-Star Game that preceded a three game road trip. Brule didn’t play because he was recovering from the flu:
LATE HIT: Gilbert Brule, who’s been out since Jan.6 with a variety of maladies (ribs, spleen, ankle and now flu) was at the rink Wednesday. “I was throwing up every day,” he said of his recent illness. “But I’m feeling a lot better now.” He still has to go in for more blood work to see what hit him.
He was healthy enough to skate with the team when they returned to town on the morning before their game with Chicago on February 9:
Winger Gilbert Brule skated with the team for Wednesday morning, as he continues to recover from another flu bug. He’s on injured reserve, but when he returns, maybe for Saturday’s game with the Ottawa Senators or Sunday when the Anaheim Ducks are here, the Oilers will have too many forwards and something has to give. Presumably Liam Reddox or winger J.F. Jacques will be sent to Oklahoma City.
There were no further updates on his status during the remainder of that homestand. He didn’t play on the road trip either, although he did travel with the team, according to Jim Matheson. He came back and played three games during the last homestand. He took nine shifts in the third period of the last game.
Today, according to (the real) Oilers Twitter account, he did not skate and, according to various Oilers reporters, he won’t play tonight. No explanation has yet been given. It’d be interesting to know if he travelled with the team but, in any event, it’s a remarkably curious series of ailments, in that it seems to have let him play about half of the home games but (so far) none of the road games since December 4, 2010.