Jake DeBrusk got the opportunity to play on the top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, and certainly shined under the pressure that comes with playing on the Bruins’ first line.
DeBrusk scored two goals Thursday night for Boston against the Seattle Kraken, including the game-winner just 33 seconds into overtime. He’s been playing well of late and his trade request doesn’t seem to be a distraction to the forward or the team.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy knows a lot comes with playing on the top line, especially with two players who have been cornerstones for the Bruins over the last decade. DeBrusk has spent time on the top line before, but Cassidy had a message for him this time around.
“I’ll be up front and honest, he actually said it: These are two Hall of Fame guys. I said ‘exactly,’ ” Cassidy told reporters after the game, per team-provided audio. “They have a standard they want to play to every night. I guess the crux of the conversation was, ‘Are you willing to put yourself in the position where the standard is every night? To go against top-pair defensemen and good lines and be able to play a 200-foot game?’
“… I said, ‘Listen, Jake, we did this a few years ago, didn’t work out as well as we’d like. But you’re two years farther along in your career.’ And he was very open to it and wanted it. And as a coach, that’s all you want to hear. Listen, we’ll see how it plays out. So far so good, but you want a guy that wants to be in that position and he’s more prepared to do it than maybe he was two years ago or maybe (an Oskar) Steen was going up as a younger guy.”
It would make sense for Cassidy to stick with what’s working as the Bruins’ road trip continues with a game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET.