Bruins

DeBrusk excited ‘to get his look tonight’ with Krejci, Pastrnak

bruins-debrusk-100216.jpg

DeBrusk excited ‘to get his look tonight’ with Krejci, Pastrnak

BRIGHTON, Mass – After watching fellow Bruins prospects Anders Bjork and Jesse Gabrielle score in the preseason opener vs. the Canadiens on Monday night, Jake DeBrusk knows the bar has been set for him as he readies to take the ice against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

It will be the first preseason game for DeBrusk this fall and it his first in a top-six spot at left wing alongside David Krejci and David Pastrnak.

DeBrusk, 20, has worked with Krejci exclusively the first five days of camp and Pastrnak was added to that duo as soon as he signed and reported to Boston last weekend. It’s clear the Bruins are giving the former first-round pick a big audition with Krejci and Pastrnak, and DeBrusk is excited to show what he can do.

“I’m feeling good, excited to put on the jersey again and play at the Garden,” said DeBrusk. “We see each other every day, and we know how good we all are. I saw a couple of [young] guys get on the board last night with a big comeback win. So they kind of set the tone and we’re expecting the same result for sure. I just want to show that I can stay there, that I can play on that line and that I belong in that [top-six] area.”

DeBrusk hasn’t quite immediately taken off the way Bjork has in the first week of camp, but he’s been steadily trying to improve chemistry with Krejci and Pastrnak as the practice days have unfolded. Clearly, there is skill there with DeBrusk after 19 goals and 49 points in 70 games with the P-Bruins as a first-year pro, but there’s still some question as to whether he’s a no-doubt top-six winger or more of a third line type who can play higher in the lineup.

“[We want to see him] get pucks off the wall to Krejci,” Bruce Cassidy said. “Krejci is great coming out of our end with speed and leading the attack. That’s one of his strengths. We look for [DeBrusk] to be on top of pucks and create turnovers much like [Pastrnak] does on fore-check in the neutral zone. He does have good foot speed and a good stick. We’re looking for him to finish plays. Obviously, the guy on the right side, Pasta, has made a name for himself doing that, so not all of the pressure is on Jake to do that.

“We just want him to pitch, and when there are plays there to be finished we want him to be able to do that. Then obviously he’s got to do it on a consistent basis, but he’ll get his look tonight. He’s been on that line for three or four days, so let’s see what he’s got.”

Certainly, the intensity has been there for DeBrusk while also showing a little frustration when plays haven’t been made with Krejci in practice. Now, he’s looking forward to getting a chance in a preseason game where playmaking chemistry either materializes or it doesn’t.

“It goes hand-in-hand that you want to have games with them as well as practices,” said DeBrusk. “I think every day it’s been getting better, so just looking forward to some game action with them. I’m just going to work hard, play my game, stick to my game and hopefully contribute.”

If DeBrusk does all of that, much like his fellow young prospects did on Monday night in Quebec City, then he should be just fine in his first really big audition with the Black and Gold. 


 

Backes, on mend from bout with diverticulitis, may return Thursday

bruins_david_backes_121216.jpg

Backes, on mend from bout with diverticulitis, may return Thursday

BRIGHTON -- While there will clearly need to be sign-offs from the medical staff, the Bruins aren’t ruling out a return from David Backes for Thursday night’s game vs. the Vancouver Canucks.

Both Backes and Patrice Bergeron returned to Bruins practice with the rest of their teammates on Tuesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but it was only the 33-year-old Backes that practiced fully without any limitations.

“He skated a little while we were away and a full practice today, so we’ll consult with the medical staff going forward with his plan,” said coach Bruce Cassidy. “Potentially he could be an option for Thursday, and I think that should sort itself out in the next couple of days. We’re no different than anybody else, right? We’d like to have our full complement, and some of the guys we’re missing are glue guys that could really add that element to some of the kinds of games that got away from us.”

MORE:

After the team practice, Backes said that he’s been skating for the last four days and that he’s lost about 10 pounds over the last couple of weeks while adjusting to the medication and dietary treatments for diverticulitis. It wasn’t a complete shock to Backes given some of his family medical history, but he wasn’t expecting anything like that to hit him in the prime of his professional athletic career at just 34 years old.

“I have a family history of it, but this is kind of unfortunate timing and unfortunate circumstances. Hopefully I take care of this, get it behind me and not have to ever think about it again,” said Backes. “The first couple of days it was tough to just stand up straight or do anything, and then you’re on a ‘no exercise’ regimen for six or seven days. So progress . . . certainly. A return . . . we’ll see. Long-term prognosis we’ll have to discuss with the really smart guys.

“You don’t have much appetite, to deal with pain you take a painkiller and then that slows down digestion and just makes it even worse. So you’re stuck there…and it really drains your energy. I was on a liquid diet there for a few days and lost about 10 pounds. I don’t suggest that as a crash diet for anybody.”

He’s come a long way from being stuck in a Mass General hospital bed during Bruins opening night against the Nashville Predators, and Backes is hoping he’ll be all the way back to playing sooner rather than later. The Bruins right winger skated in a third line spot with Riley Nash and Tim Schaller on Tuesday, and said he’s actually even consulted a bit with former Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light, who battled his own stomach issues with Crohn’s Disease during his NFL career.

“I was like a kid in a candy store before practice. You have that carrot of Game 1 dangled in front of you and then taken away, and finally you’re back with the guys on the ice after they’ve been gone a week. Knowing what the results have been you want to interject a little energy out there while knowing that we’ve got 77 games left to establish ourselves, and find our game,” said Backes. “I felt good out there and it was nice to be back on the ice. I was smiling most of the day knowing that I’ll hopefully be playing some ice hockey in the future.

“We’re working to get that strength back and to return me to a productive member of this hockey team, which is going to be on the upswing here shortly. It’s not just due to me, but because guys are putting work in as a group. I’m trying to be as educated about it as I can, so I can be available as often as possible and as productive as possible when I am available.”

There are medical hurdles that need to be traversed by Backes before he can return, but once it becomes a matter of toughness and grit then he’ll be suiting up again for the Black and Gold, and that moment might be coming soon.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

bruins_tuukka_rask_110315.jpg

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was acting a bit out of character after the Sunday night loss to the Vegas Golden Knights when he said he wouldn’t be commenting on team performance outside of his own goaltending. 

Clearly, it was a tense atmosphere in the Bruins dressing room following an extremely bad road performance and it would seem very likely there’s probably been some friction in the past between Rask and positional players over his postgame candor.

MORE:

That was the backdrop for Rask keeping it laconic, and saying on Sunday night: “I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

It would seem that some fans and Bruins observers took that to mean Rask was pissed off at his Bruins teammates after a few breakdowns defensively, and a total non-performance at the offensive end of the ice.

Taking all that into account, Rask clarified his comments a bit after practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena and said it’s all about focusing on his own performance rather than taking issues with any of his teammates.

“You lose games and you’re not happy with your performance. Somebody just told me that I guess it got spun the wrong way that it was me mad at my teammates or something. That’s definitely not the case,” said Rask, whom at 1-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .880 save percentage this season, is clearly in need of some improvement as well.

“You lose games and you definitely hold yourself accountable and you want to talk about your performance and what you need to do to get better," Rask said. "So, that’s where I was coming from. I definitely wasn’t mad at our team. I was more mad at myself, so that’s that.

“You always try to give a fair assessment about the game, but I think the biggest thing that I need to worry about, and what everybody else needs to worry about, is how they get better themselves. You start from that, so that’s where I was coming from.”

The prospect of getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back healthy would go a long way toward improving the Bruins play on the ice and stabilizing things defensively for Rask and the rest of the Black and Gold. That’s really what’s needed at this point to improve a situation where the B’s are 23rd in the NHL, averaging 3.6 goals allowed per game, and real, rather than figurative, fingers might start getting pointed all around if it doesn’t start looking better in short order.