Where do Jake DeBrusk and Bruce Cassidy stand? B's coach gets candid


Jake DeBrusk and Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy haven't always seen eye-to-eye, which helps explain why DeBrusk formally requested a trade in late November.

But the NHL trade deadline has passed and DeBrusk is still on the roster; in fact, the Bruins gave him a two-year extension.

So, where do things stand between the 25-year-old winger and his head coach? Are things about to get awkward?

How DeBrusk feels about staying with Bruins despite trade request

Cassidy was pretty forthcoming Wednesday about his pain points with DeBrusk and how they've worked through their differences.

"I like Jake as a person. He's a good guy, he's low-maintenance, good teammate," Cassidy told 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" radio show. "My issue with him has always been about pushing him, holding him accountable, (being a) second-effort type of player. Some players respond differently to that than others, so I've got to adjust, and so does he."

Cassidy showed DeBrusk some tough love earlier this season by benching him for a matchup with the Vancouver Canucks, and Cassidy admitted the young winger "wasn't happy" with the coach's decision. (DeBrusk submitted his trade request the day after that game.)

While Cassidy stood by his November benching of DeBrusk, he did reveal having a back-and-forth with veteran David Krejci earlier in DeBrusk's career about how best to handle the 2015 first-round draft pick.

"I talked to Krejci about it a few years ago, actually," Cassidy recalled. "I said, 'Krecj, I'm gonna hold him accountable.' It's on the bench, it's in the room, and then when I get asked a question of what I think of a guy's game, I'll usually answer it. But they've been dealt with before that.

"And Krejci even said, 'Let me take care of him a bit, he's on my line.' And so we backed off, and we have with a lot of guys. Usually that's early on their first couple of years: 'Here's the standard, here's what we expect every night.' And then it kind of smooths itself over with most players who walk through the door here."

It seems like Cassidy has kept the pressure on DeBrusk, however, in part to seek more consistency from the young forward: DeBrusk endured a seven-game drought without a point earlier in the season, then followed a six-game points-less streak in February with seven goals in his next five games.

DeBrusk's new deal makes him a trade candidate this offseason if the Bruins want to move on from him then. In the meantime, though, it sounds like Cassidy and DeBrusk are enough on the same page to coexist for a potential Stanley Cup run.

Bruins improved at the trade deadline, but path to Stanley Cup got tougher

"Right now we're both Boston Bruins, and he's played well for us, to be honest with you," Cassidy said. "We're glad to have him, and he's a good hockey player. He can help us win a Stanley Cup and everyone's happy.

"I don't know what will happen this summer. That will be up to him and his representatives and (general manager Don Sweeney) to sort through that. But he can be a good player for us, and we all acknowledge that."

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