Boston Bruins

Jan 21, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) looks to pass the puck during the second period of a game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The usually-friendly Jake DeBrusk came to the podium with more than a fresh haircut and shave Thursday night. This night, and for perhaps the first time in his NHL career, there was a bit of spice to DeBrusk’s comments.

The message conveyed numerous times: DeBrusk knows what’s being said and written about him.

“I had the long hair for a while there and I don’t know, I just needed to look a little younger,” DeBrusk, who also switched up his sticks for this contest, said. “Feels like everyone thinks I’m kind of done here, so.”

It didn’t end there.

“I know what I need to do,” DeBrusk, who scored his first five-on-five goal of the year in this one, said when asked about watching Tuesday’s game as a scratch before returning to action Thursday. “It’s just a matter of… I think that there’s been lots of articles, so you guys probably can figure it out, too, to be honest with you.”

It went beyond articles, in fact. Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy criticized DeBrusk’s effort before he was scratched. On Wednesday, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney by all means admitted that he’s shocked his projected second line trio (DeBrusk, David Krejci, and Ondrej Kase) had yet to score a goal in 2021. On Thursday, Bruins president Cam Neely admitted to the morning show across the city that this wasn’t the first time they’ve talked to DeBrusk about his issues.

It all went noticed by No. 74, too.

“It’s my job to do [shake it off],” DeBrusk said. “It’s my job to be the best I can be every single day. There’s obviously distractions and I’m a pretty easy target at the moment. So, I mean, I understand the territory. I mean, it’s pretty much warranted. So I get that. But yeah, I took it personally for sure. Who wouldn’t? Any time that you get scratched, it stings.

“I’m beyond frustrated already and it just kind of was nice [to score]. It was a nice little reset for me because I knew I was coming in with some heat today.”

And though the content will change now that DeBrusk is on the board, the approach from the fourth-year NHLer won’t.

“I think that the reason why I played that way tonight was because I was pissed off,” DeBrusk admitted. “So I think I need to keep that. Obviously, the game’s done, it’s all happy. It’s a different narrative now because I scored.

“But I’m keeping that [anger]. That’s not going away.”