BRIGHTON, Mass – It wasn’t a particularly enjoyable video session for Jake DeBrusk and his fellow young players on Tuesday morning ahead of Bruins practice. There were blown assignments in the D-zone, plays in all zones that could have been executed better and missed opportunities to play a simple, basic game when sloppy ice conditions on a humid afternoon pretty much called for that.
DeBrusk finished a minus-3 in 13 minutes of ice time with just a shot on net and found himself dropped to the fourth line at certain points of the game. Anders Bjork was also a minus-3 in 14:38 of ice time and similarly had trouble putting forth the 200-foot consistency that was necessary in the game. Charlie McAvoy finished a minus-2 with just a shot on net and a couple of giveaways in 19:28 of ice time, and clearly wasn’t at his best either.
The Bruins brought up Danton Heinen from Providence and signed hard-hitting Ryan White on a PTO after he was recently released by the Vancouver Canucks organization, so it’s clear there will be other options for the Bruins coaches if the rookie struggles hit repeat mode. Still, it looks like they will go into their first road game of the season on Wednesday night in Colorado with their young players in the same respective spots while expecting a better result.
“It’s a solution-oriented business. At least that’s the way I see it at times big picture versus small picture as you try to balance the two,” said Cassidy. “We need to get better in certain areas. We happen to be playing the same team [in Colorado], so let’s make sure we correct them and put our best foot forward tomorrow.
“[Competition] doesn’t hurt. We want to let guys relax and play, but by the same token this is a business. We have a standard. We didn’t play to it [on Monday] and we’re going to try to get back to it tomorrow. We talked about that. If creating competition is an avenue that will make that better than that’s something we have to look at.”
It was a remarkable plummet back to Earth after the B’s rooks were all spectacular in the season opening win, and now the down note provides a chance for each of those young players to prove they are “bounce-back guys”, as Bruce Cassidy called them after the game.
“We did video today and saw lots of mistakes that we made. Some mistakes that I made personally. The good news is that they’re all fixable. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but it’s a big learning experience for me and for the other guys as well,” said DeBrusk. “I thought that my first game went well, and my second game didn’t go so well. So I’m looking for my ‘A’ or ‘B’ game going into Colorado, and knowing what they did on our home ice.
“We’re looking for a bounce-back game. It shows your character as a player and as a person. It’s about how you bounce back and deal with that stuff. It’s not going to be easy by any means. But we’re all driven and motivated. I know I want to stay in the lineup, and so do the other guys that wanted that game back in Colorado. We’re going to put our best foot forward and give our best effort.”
With DeBrusk and Bjork again on each of David Krejci’s wings at Tuesday’s practice and McAvoy right back in his customary role on the back end, the young Bruins players will get that opportunity in the Mile High City to show they’re truly “bounce-back guys.”