Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 23: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins looks on during the third period of Game Seven of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins defeat the Maple Leafs 5-1. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • The latest informal skate at Warrior Ice Arena on Tuesday morning came with a new face added to the mix with the arrival of top-line winger Jake DeBrusk.

    It’s been an absolute whirlwind of a year and change for the 25-year-old, but Tuesday’s post-skate meeting with DeBrusk felt like old times.

    DeBrusk was his normal, self-deprecating self. His smile was there. He didn’t don a hoodie and keep his eyes to the ground or limit his answers. He was back to being the DeBrusk that you knew as a great conversation, about hockey or really anything else for that matter. It was as if the last two years — well, the bad stuff, anyway — never even happened.

  • There’s certainly less weight on DeBrusk’s shoulders these days, and he’d be the first to tell you that.

    His finish to the season, with a team-leading 16 goals following from his move to the first line in late February through the end of the season, certainly helped. The confirmation that DeBrusk could indeed succeed on his off wing also helped how he felt about his game. Oh, and DeBrusk even got some financial security by way of a two-year, $8 million extension signed hours before the trade deadline. 

    It was all enough for DeBrusk to formally rescind his trade request in the offseason.

  • May 14, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

    May 14, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) celebrates his goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

  • But what was it that went into the decision to rescind the request?

    “I think at the end of the year, I said that I would talk to my family and kind of think things over. And I think the biggest thing, honestly, was the support I got from the guys in this room last year,” DeBrusk offered. “I think that that was one thing where it felt like it was obviously a lot of stuff coming my way for obvious reasons. And the guys in this room really kind of kept it tight and kept it as one.”

    The Bruins’ support for DeBrusk was there from start to finish. Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron said that he understood DeBrusk’s wishes, but that they expected him to work as hard as everybody else. He did exactly that. Brad Marchand, meanwhile, served as an on-ice, unconditional hype man for DeBrusk, and was often the first to fly over to DeBrusk and give him an attaboy after a strong play.

    “That’s something that I’ve always loved about this team,” DeBrusk admitted. “I’ve always loved the boys and also the city and everything else. I mean, this is what I know, this is what I’m comfortable with, and it wasn’t honestly that hard of a decision to make. In saying that, obviously building off last season. It was one of those things that I talked about it for a little bit, and I was leaning that way.”

  • Apr 19, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the St. Louis Blues during the second period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

    Apr 19, 2022; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk (74) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

    DeBrusk is also aware of the storyline that notes that he rescinded his trade request once the Bruins parted ways with head coach Bruce Cassidy. largely due to his at-times rocky relationship with some of the team’s younger talents, DeBrusk included.

    So, was that storyline indeed the reality of the situation?

    “I mean, hey, you know, that’s been speculated enough, I think,” DeBrusk said. “I think, you guys know, I see stuff. And obviously, that’s an easy answer. But it’s one of those things that, you know, we could talk and talk about. I respect that you guys, obviously, your jobs are to ask those type of questions. And obviously, it’s one of those things where, you know, it’s kind of interesting. You have lots of hot topics, or different things about the situation, even why i asked for a trade.

    “But I am just looking forward to this year, I think I said that, [near] the end of the year, it was against Montreal that I was looking forward to not having to answer those questions anymore. It’s one of those things that’s in the past, and this whole summer has been focused on getting right and getting ready for this season. That’s kind of how I view that question.”

    In other words, that’s a big ol’ no comment.

    It’s easy to see why DeBrusk didn’t want to touch that subject. Admitting that it was the reason why he wanted to stay could come across as DeBrusk being ‘soft’ or not wanting to be held accountable. That wouldn’t be an ideal spot for new coach Jim Montgomery, who at some point in his Boston tenure is going to need to demand more out of his players, to find himself in before the season starts. Denying it, on the other hand, reopens that whole can of worms of questioning why the B’s fired Cassidy.

    (Cassidy, for what it’s worth, thinks that he worked just fine with the team’s younger players. He even thinks that he and DeBrusk ended on good terms, seeing as how he was able to maximize DeBrusk’s impact on the 2021-22 Bruins by moving him up to the first line.)

  • TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 17: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins stretches during warm-ups prior to Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 17, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    TORONTO, ONTARIO – AUGUST 17: Jake DeBrusk #74 of the Boston Bruins stretches during warm-ups prior to Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Carolina Hurricanes. (Elsa/Getty Images)

  • But whether his desire to stay with the Bruins was influenced by Cassidy or not, DeBrusk is indeed looking forward to the proverbial fresh start with Montgomery.

    “I mean, this is the first time I’m going through it, so I think that’s usually a good cliche,” DeBrusk, who exchanged a few calls and texts with Montgomery this season, said. “It’s a fresh start obviously. There’s different systems, maybe there’s different things — we’ll all find that out as we go along through this training camp. But I think that it definitely brings a new element to it obviously. It’s gonna be different than any other camp I’ve been here before. So it’s exciting and it’s makes you eager for training camp.

    “You don’t know what drills are coming your way — if they’re gonna be baggers or if they’re going to be fun. You don’t know yet, so it’s one of those things where you try not to think too much about it. But I think it’s exciting. This time of year is always awesome, because it’s captain’s practices. Everyone’s just excited back in the city and getting revved up for training camp and that’s when the work continues.”

  • And with this being the start of his new two-year pact, there’s indeed the hope — both within the front office and with DeBrusk himself — that he will re-establish himself as a core piece.

    “I think everybody wants to feel long-term when you play in a city like Boston,” said DeBrusk. “I think that’s something that not very many guys in this team have. And it’s one of those things that obviously you got to earn that right, you got to earn those privileges. And I did sign for two more years and was very excited to do that, obviously. I haven’t really thought too far in advance on two years from now.

    “It’s been a crazy year and a half for me, so [I’m] taking it slow. But I think everybody would want to stay long term in a city like Boston. Playing for the Spoked-B is an honor.

    “And it’s one of those things that hopefully I get off to a good start and produce and just go from there and do anything I can to help the team win.”