Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk’s rocky 2021 hit another bump Tuesday, as the slumping wing once again found himself out of head coach Bruce Cassidy’s lineup and back in the proverbial doghouse as a healthy scratch.
And for DeBrusk, who was scratched having scored just one goal in his last 13 games (and zero in nine straight), the message from the coaching staff was a familiar one.
“We just need a higher compete level,” Cassidy said of the message to DeBrusk. “Every player’s at a different place in their career here and we just talked to him about the standard we expect him to play to.”
Thrown to his off wing following the acquisition of Taylor Hall just before the 2021 trade deadline, DeBrusk failed to look like a fit with Charlie Coyle and Nick Ritchie on the Black and Gold’s Frankenstein third line. The line as a whole struggled, of course, and was broken up Tuesday with Coyle moved to the wing while Sean Kuraly assumed center responsibilities. The line was given an in-game shake-up, too, with Trent Frederic promoted up a line as their left wing shortly into the 3-1 win.
It hasn’t been all bad for DeBrusk over that stretch, of course. There were nights where he was creating, and DeBrusk even had a team-leading seven shots on goal (and in just over 13 minutes of time on ice) in the team’s Apr. 20 win over the Sabres.
But this latest removal from the lineup seemingly has more to do with issues with DeBrusk’s overall effort on a shift-to-shift basis and by the night’s end versus any potential issues with the overall stat line.
“Everyone’s going to have an off night, but that’s the message: It’s not about individual stats. It’s about you needing to help this team win,” said Cassidy. “And in order to do that, and if guys aren’t scoring — and I’ll put [DeBrusk] in that category — then help us win and say we’re in the home stretch here. We need whatever it takes Player 1 through 20 in the lineup that particular night to help us win.”
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.