DeBrusk looking to put Rangers benching behind him


BRIGHTON, Mass – An NHL rookie season is full of ups and downs, and 21-year-old Jake DeBrusk is looking to put a quick end to any down period after a subpar effort over the weekend. DeBrusk had a career-low 7:43 of ice time in Saturday’s loss to the New York Rangers, and had three giveaways while the player himself admitted he wasn’t strong enough in the board battles and 1-on-1 competition for pucks.

The Bruins need DeBrusk to be a strong, rugged player along the boards, and in front of the net to go along with the skating and scoring that he's flashed in his first season.

“I didn’t think he was hard enough on pucks. He lost some battles along the wall. By my count there were two backhanded turnovers, and those are tough ones that we’re emphasizing with the young guys. You always want to make those plays on your forehand because you’re stronger,” said Bruce Cassidy. “With those backhand plays in the middle of the ice, every game is close so you need to manage the puck better in those situations. I think all of the guys have gone through it, and even [Matt Grzelcyk] had one of those ‘hope plays’ as we describe it. You’ve got to get those out of your game, and live to fight another day. Manage the puck, eat the puck and put it to a safe area. Teams are too good. That’s one of those things where there’s a learning curve, and so a few guys got the ice time in front of [DeBrusk].”


His fellow rookie forward Anders Bjork was in a similar spot after the previous loss to the Washington Capitals, and was relegated to the press box for the New York loss to get his game back in order.

DeBrusk still has a goal, two points and 11 shots on net in his last four games and was one of the best players on the ice in Boston’s win over the Islanders, so it wouldn’t appear that a healthy scratch is on the horizon for the Bruins winger. 

Still, he is fully in receipt of the message from his ice time getting cut and doesn’t want to be in that same position again.

“I think it was the message that’s been coming across the last couple of days. It’s not my first time being benched, but hopefully it’s my last. It’s one of those things you never want to have happen, but you understand why. I think it’s just about being hard on pucks,” said DeBrusk, who is on a pace for 18 goals and 42 points in this first go-round through the NHL. “It’s the classic message that all players need to play how he wants them to play, and obviously I felt it on the bench there. So I’m looking to do anything I can to find my energy and get back to my game from a week ago.”

DeBrusk is a smart player and a tough competitor, and he clearly wants to stick in a top-6 role with David Krejci that’s been pretty good to him thus far this season. One would expect to see a stronger DeBrusk on the puck when the B’s drop the puck against Columbus on Monday night, and probably see one of his better games of the season after seeing some bench time over the weekend. 


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