Bruce Cassidy was running out of options when it came to jumpstarting Jake DeBrusk.
DeBrusk has had a tough go at it in 2021 thus far. The Boston Bruins’ middle-six winger has been limited to 17 games due to an injury, and in the games he has played, he’s been with different linemates periodically.
“Well, we?ve tried different angles with Jake,” Cassidy said after Tuesday’s morning skate. “He?s met 1-on-1 with myself, he?s met 1-on-1 with the coaches, Joe (Sacco) and Jay (Pandolfo), met with lines, has talked with some of the veteran guys. At the end of the day, we?re not quite getting out of Jake what we want. Some of that is circumstances and situational, he?s moved around, been hurt. His center that he?s played with in the past has been hurt.”
Some of it has been bad luck for DeBrusk. But he’s fallen far enough off the pace he usually scores at that Cassidy, despite trying to give him enough ice time, is hoping the view from above instead of ice level is what the 24-year-old needs.
“I still feel he?s been given ice time to perform to the best of his ability. We just feel that we?re not getting the effort required,” the Bruins coach said. “It?s not always about the scoresheet, it?s about being one of 20 guys helping you win. Some nights it?s there and some nights it?s not. Again, we?ve tried different messaging with the player, and sometimes going upstairs and taking a look is not a bad way to go and put a different perspective on it. Maybe have a better appreciation for being in there, and then maybe educating yourself on some things you see from up top that look a little easier than they do in the live action.
“So at the end of the day, he’s not the first person that?s been scratched and he won?t be the last. But we want to make him a better player in the long run and this is the avenue we?re going to take today and sort it out on Thursday when the Rangers are in town.”
With DeBrusk out, Sean Kuraly draws back into the lineup as the fourth-line center. Jack Studnicka, as a result, will climb to the second line right wing.