GILBERT BRULE: LEAPS, BOUNDS AND CRUTCHES

After developing in leaps and bounds in his fifth NHL season, Gilbert Brule damn sure didn’t want to see what’s been a miserable campaign for the Edmonton Oilers end the way it will for him.

That was obvious this morning as Brule hobbled into Rexall Place on crutches with his sprained right ankle in a walking cast — it looks like his season is over after he was pushed into Kari Lehtonen in Dallas during a 6-3 loss to the Stars Friday.

"I think I am," Brule said when I asked if his season is done. "I’m not 100 per cent sure yet. I’m going to get an MRI today, so . . . I’m sure it’ll show more than the X-ray I had in Dallas, but the doctor there said I was probably done, though."

Unless Brule got some unexpected good news by way of that MRI this afternoon — I wouldn’t hold my breath on that — it looks like he’ll be out for the Oilers final four games.

Barring that good news or miracle work by the Oilers training staff, the 23-year-old Brule will finish the season with 17-20-37 in 65 games. Still, it’s easily his most productive season — his previous best was 9-10-19 in 78 games with Columbus in 2006-07.

Despite illness and injury, Brule showed some of the flash and dash that prompted the Blue Jackets to draft him sixth overall in 2005. That was cold consolation as he made his way to the dressing room today.

"Yes, it is tough," Brule said. "I wanted to have a strong finish to the season. I had some goals I wanted to attain. That’s obviously not going to happen. There’s not much I can do about it right now."

LOOK-SEE FOR EBERLE?

Maybe I’m reading something between the lines that isn’t there, but one comment GM Steve Tambellini made today in regard to Jordan Eberle made me wonder if the door is open for him to be recalled by the Oilers during their final three games.

"That experience, for me, is a great step," Tambellini said, talking about having Eberle in the AHL with Springfield. "Whether he comes up and plays, you know, a game or two, maybe. But if he doesn’t, there’s still great value in that. I believe in those steps."

I haven’t heard anything to suggest Eberle is on the way, but I’ve got a feeling we’ll hear something between tonight and when the Oilers close out the season with two games on the road.

TOUGH ENOUGH?

If Pat Quinn was sold on having an enforcer to take care of business, he wouldn’t have jettisoned Steve MacIntyre earlier this season, but it’s my belief the Oilers need to re-visit the question of having a hammer if they’re going to dress a young, small group of forwards next season.

If I was Quinn, I’d be putting in a call to a team like St. Louis, who have both Cam Janssen and D.J. King, both of whom are restricted free agents this season. 630 CHED analyst Bob Stauffer has mentioned both these guys as possibilities, and I agree with him.

King, 25, has seen limited action this season because of injuries, but he’s tough as a $4 steak and knows his job. I’d be curious to hear what On readers think on the need, or lack of same, for a tough guy.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.