Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has tried just about everything he can to get Jake DeBrusk going.
He’s moved around the lineup, including a stint with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, and was reunited with linemates he’s had success with in the past. He’s been given confidence boosters in Zoom conferences, both after practice and after games, and even after triple-zero nights on the stat sheet. He’s even been given some extra ice-time when most coaches would’ve done the complete opposite.
And still, (almost) nothing.
Cassidy has also acknowledged the flip side of that, citing DeBrusk’s bounce around the lineup (and at both left and right wing), as well as his lower-body injury and the injury that put David Krejci on the shelf, as potential factors in the slump that’s left DeBrusk with just one goal through 17 games this season.
But DeBrusk has officially run out of rope, as the Bruins will scratch him for Tuesday’s night game on Long Island.
“We just feel we’re not getting the effort required,” Cassidy said. “It’s not always about the scoresheet. It’s about being one of 20 guys helping you win, and sometimes it’s there, and sometimes it’s not.”
This is where Cassidy has drawn the proverbial line: Effort. If the goals aren’t going to come — and boy, have they stopped coming — DeBrusk needs to be value-add elsewhere. That really hasn’t been the case, with DeBrusk on the ice for the brutal Lars Eller goal last Wednesday, and with DeBrusk’s 40 Goals-For percentage standing as the third-worst among all Boston regulars through the first two months of the season. Even DeBrusk’s once-gamechanging presence as a menacing forechecker has waned to a noticeable degree.
“We’ve tried different messaging with the player and sometimes going upstairs and taking a look is not a bad way to go to put a different perspective on it,” said Cassidy. “Maybe he’ll have a better appreciation for being in [the lineup] and then maybe educating yourself on what you see up top than you do in live action.”
With DeBrusk out, Jack Studnicka will move to the right wing on the B’s second line with David Krejci and Nick Ritchie, while Sean Kuraly will jump back into action as the team’s fourth-line center after sitting the previous two games as a healthy scratch.