Heartfelt father-son moment punctuates DeBrusk’s debut

Heartfelt father-son moment punctuates DeBrusk’s debut

BOSTON - Once you’re a dad you get even more of an affinity for those heartwarming father-son moments that can often happen in sports, and there was a beautiful one between former NHLer Louie DeBrusk and 20-year-old Bruins rookie Jake DeBrusk on opening night. 

Dad serves as a hockey television analyst in Canada and had worked the Edmonton Oilers game on Wednesday night, and then took a red-eye flight to make sure he was in the stands for his son’s NHL debut at TD Garden against the Nashville Predators on opening night.

It was a special night for the DeBrusks, who had a large contingent of friends and family that traveled from Edmonton for the game. Jake responded with his first NHL goal and a pair of points in Boston’s 4-3 victory.


NESN cameras caught DeBrusk’s dad teary-eyed and beaming with pride in the stands right after the goal, and it was something his exuberant son was only more than happy to talk about after the victory.

“He’s known as a tough guy but I heard that there were some tears coming from him. So it’s a very emotional time, but I’ll be chirping him for a couple of years to come. That’s for sure,” said DeBrusk, with a big grin on his face. “It means a lot. He took a red-eye here with the family, got in early with family, took a nap, came to the game. It’s one of those things that I’m very fortunate and lucky.

“Obviously, everyone’s got different family things going on, but I was lucky enough for them to come and lucky enough to score when they were here. So it’s one of those things that I guess was meant to be and something I’ll never forget, that’s for sure.”

DeBrusk was a force throughout. He played with speed and had a team-high four shots on net in his 14-plus minutes punctuated by the scoring drive to the net in the second period. By midway through the game, DeBrusk was on the left wing on a line with David Krejci and Anders Bjork and the former first-round pick looked like he absolutely belonged after sweating out his roster spot in training camp.

DeBrusk’s coach certainly came away impressed with the rookie skating hard, moving his feet and taking it hard to the net. Bruce Cassidy expects to see more of the same after such a promising debut.

“[He’s a] smart player. You can’t teach that. Good feel for the game. We’ve talked about liking his pace. For him, it’s just about playing against big men now. Is he ready for that? Tonight he looked good. At other times, guys push him off the puck,” said Cassidy. “He’ll have to learn what he can get away with, but he does have the ability to separate. We saw that.

“If you can’t separate with your foot speed, then it doesn’t matter how smart you are sometimes once they get locked on to you. So, he has that ability to go with his smarts, so we like him. See tonight, he had a little bit of finish as well. That’s the other part. You need that production at some point, and we got it tonight.”

The Bruins certainly got their production on opening night and the DeBrusk family got an awesome father-son hockey moment roughly 20 years in the making.



Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"


Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.