Bruins

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.

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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.

 


 

Bruins, Marchand struggle mightily on power play in defeat

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Bruins, Marchand struggle mightily on power play in defeat

BOSTON – The Bruins have to hope the ugly look for their power play units ends up being a temporary phase.

The Bruins managed to put together just six shots on net in seven power play chances during Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers, a situation that was just barely salvaged by a third-period power play goal. The score was a timely one on a connection from David Pastrnak to Brad Marchand that pushed things into overtime, but it did little to wipe out the monumental struggles earlier in the game.

The Bruins couldn’t cohesively get the puck in the offensive zone, and plenty of their team-high 22 giveaways in the game took place in the handful of instances they were rewarded with PP’s this season.

Couple that with the back-to-back shorthanded goals allowed in back-to-back games against Detroit and Washington, and there may be some issues to be straightened out on the man advantage.

“Early on, I thought the pressure in zone, we weren’t able to handle it. They were more aggressive on the kill than we were ready for, and we just did not handle it well,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We had a couple plays in mind we thought might work down low around the net. I think we forced the puck on those down by the goal line, so we spent a lot of time going back into our own end and breaking the puck out, which becomes frustrating.

“We tried to run a delayed play tonight; we were out of sync on it. So, there was problems getting into the zone and there were problems in the zone. There was problems, I mean, whoever watched the game clearly – I mean, we struggled on the power play. We’re not going to hide from that, but it got us a goal later, so we eventually kind of got it squared away but we certainly had opportunities early to take advantage and we didn’t.”

The overall performance during the month of December isn’t that bad for the Bruins, who are 6-for-26 (23 percent success rate) on the power play in the games played this month. They’ve been getting more production with better health, but they’re also playing a little too fast and loose with the puck management and decision-making on the ice.  

Brad Marchand admitted after Saturday night’s loss that it’s up to the Bruins players to start picking it up on special teams and make some better choices with the puck.

“It’s on us. We’re forcing plays when they’re not there. Maybe we need to realize we have an extra second, need to calm it down a bit. When we do that, we are at our best that’s kind of when things go well,” said Marchand. “When we take that extra second, we have good support and read off each other well. We aren’t doing any of that now, we are pressing a bit, but something we need to work on and get better at.”

Perhaps that Marchand goal can be the rallying point for the Bruins power play to move on and move out with all the proper personnel healthy and in place with Ryan Spooner, and just a good, old-fashioned confidence-booster acting as the only thing that can quickly lift the Black and Gold man advantage out of their current status in the dumps.

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Cassidy: Too-many-men penalties 'a lousy way to lose'

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Cassidy: Too-many-men penalties 'a lousy way to lose'

BOSTON – The Bruins made plenty of mistakes in Saturday night’s overtime loss to the New York Rangers, but perhaps most glaring was the pair of too many men on the ice penalties late in the tightly contested hockey game.

The first too many men call wiped out the Bruins' final power play of the game, and the second infraction set up the Mats Zuccarello overtime game-winner in the 3-2 victory for the Rangers. Bruce Cassidy had a wry smile on the Bruins bench right after the penalty was called, and copped to a guilty plea of trying to get away with a little something after the game was over.

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Truth be told, the too many men on the ice call in OT could have been called on any one of Torey Krug, Patrice Bergeron or Brad Marchand as they headed off the ice after a long shift going back and forth up the ice. The Bruins were scrambling to try and change players while also catching up to a Rangers rush into the B’s defensive zone, and that’s where the trouble came in.

“We’re scrambling to get on the ice, so the call might have been from, like, [Charlie] McAvoy jumping for [Torey] Krug, it might have been Krech [David Krejci] going for Bergy [Patrice Bergeron]. I don’t know. I can’t complain, I mean, we’re trying to gain an advantage there,” said Cassidy. “Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t. We didn’t. And the other one was on the power play; we had a forward jump for the wrong guy.

“We had six guys. So, it’s hard to complain about them, you know, we were at fault there, we’ll take the blame for that and unfortunately it’s a lousy way to lose, but we had some chances in overtime too, we just lost our footing on a couple too. It was one of those nights, it seemed like we were – we had some chances at the offensive blue line, even in overtime, we just lost control of pucks and lost our footing and took away some good chances for us.”

Cassidy and the Bruins had a little too many men on the ice trouble during their first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators last spring, but it hasn’t really been a recurring issue at all for the B’s bench this season. So the expectation is that Saturday’s OT loss to the Rangers, too many men on the ice penalties and all, was another example of a lot of odd things happening to the Bruins in a game they most definitely didn’t deserve to win. 

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