Louie DeBrusk played for the Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks during the course of his 401 game NHL career. He never made the Stanley Cup Final, and played in just 15 playoff games during his nearly eleven years in the league. The veteran tough guy never got the chance that his son, Boston’s Jake DeBrusk, is currently getting.
The Edmonton native is in just his second season in the NHL, but DeBrusk is already off to his first Stanley Cup Final and has won at least one playoff round in each of his two seasons in the league. In fact, the younger DeBrusk has already played in 14 more postseason tilts than his father over the course of his NHL career.
“I have bragging rights from last year” laughed DeBrusk on Sunday after I asked him if making the Final gave him bragging rights in the house. The Bruins, of course, advanced to the second round of the playoffs a season ago before bowing out to Tampa Bay. That matched Louie’s longest run, a second round appearance with the Oilers in 1997. Both teams were downed in five games in their second round series, with the difference being Jake was a key cog while Louie was more of a depth piece.
Reaching this point is new territory for the DeBrusk family. With Louie having never made it this far in his career, after parts of eleven NHL seasons, Jake knows this is a rare experience. I asked him if his dad’s journey makes him appreciate this chance that much more.
“It’s for sure special” continued DeBrusk, this time in a more serious tone. “Obviously like you said, being this early on, you can even take examples from our team with Backes getting here now for just the first time, it’s just very special.”
Throughout his young NHL career, DeBrusk has always had his dad to ask questions to and bounce things off the wall with. This time? Jake is learning how to handle this major moment on his own, going through it for the first time with a number of his teammates who are in the same boat.
“Try and take it all in stride, you obviously don’t wanna look too far ahead with things” DeBrusk continued. He knows there is an opportunity to do something special in Boston this spring, something many NHL’ers never get the chance to do. “There’s a great opportunity in front of us, this is something that you dream about your whole life and the fact that we actually have a chance to go and win it is something that I’m looking forward to.”
If they do win it? DeBrusk has the victory parade to look forward to, something he’s not exactly familiar with. “I’m from Edmonton, but those glory days are long gone” quipped the Alberta native when asked if he’s ever been to a Championship parade before.
Four more wins, and he can add a Duck boat ride to his bragging rights over dad.