Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk has spent a good amount of quarantine time watching game film and looking for ways he can find that consistency he’s been searching for since starting the season with a seven-game goalless streak. In a Zoom media call Wednesday, DeBrusk didn’t pull any punches when assessing his season.
“It’s something that I strive for, something that every player in this league strives for is consistency,” DeBrusk replied when asked if he had found that consistency yet this season. “I have watched my games, I’ve kind of taken a step back and looked back at my whole year. Being back home with my dad, he’s been all over me about it so I’ve been thinking a little bit more harder than usual, I guess. But to be honest with you I don’t know if I had a consistent stretch this year, looking back at it I don’t know if I really necessarily put a staple of my game into this year at all.”
.@JDebrusk caught up with the Boston media on Wednesday afternoon and showed off some of the #NHLBruins memorabilia that is building up in @LouDeBrusk's office back in Edmonton: pic.twitter.com/KpVgpuOSok
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 22, 2020
DeBrusk knows he can be better than the 19 goals and 16 assists in 65 games he had when the NHL paused the 2019-20 season on March 12 due to Coronavirus. DeBrusk had just one goal in his last 12 games when the Bruins stepped off the ice at Wells Fargo Arena after a 2-0 shutout win over the Philadelphia Flyers on March 10. DeBrusk and the Bruins had high hopes for the Bruins’ first of three consecutive first round picks in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft at 14th overall. Debrusk was coming off a breakthrough sophomore campaign in 2018-19 where he scored a career-high 27 goals and had 15 assists in 68 games. DeBrusk had 16 goals and 27 assists in 70 games played in his rookie season in 2017-18. He became a fan favorite in Game 7 of the Bruins’ first-round series win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs with two goals – including the game-winner – in the 7-4 series clincher win. Last season though, after a great regular season, he disappeared too often in the playoffs finishing with four goals and seven assists in 24 games and a goal and three assists in the seven-game Stanley Cup Final.
This season those disappearing acts have been too frequent and head coach Bruce Cassidy hasn’t been shy either when discussing DeBrusk’s lack of consistency.
“Anything — just playing the game, attacking,” Cassidy answered bluntly back on January 5 after DeBrusk went pointless for a third straight game in a 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. “The other day he drew a penalty by chipping a puck behind a guy. His biggest asset is his foot speed, so he has to use that. Be a little bit more tenacious on pucks, create some of his own shots, to take a basketball term. Doesn’t always need ‘Krech’ [Krejci] to get him the puck; go chase one down or win a foot race. We chipped a lot of pucks today, the puck was bouncing all over. Would have been a good night for it. Find his own shot one-on-one.
Edmonton had a couple of guys do that, beat us a couple of times one-on-one. You have to try that a little bit of that stuff, be harder on it. I think that’s how Anders [Bjork] has turned the corner a little bit, that’s what Marchy [Brad Marchand] does, ‘Pasta’ [David Pastrnak]. Little bit is on Jake to initiate, have some second effort on pucks and some will on it to create some offense.”
DeBrusk acknowledged that the frustration has weighed on him this season and he could’ve handled it better at times. After watching so much film though, he feels he has done a solid job of identifying where he can be better.
“It’s frustrating to say,” admitted. “It just seems like production-wise and overall game wasn’t necessarily where I wanted it to be in a sense, and I understand there are certain elements that go into it — whether it’s being too hard on myself and eating myself alive at certain times — there’s different elements that pop up throughout the year that you look back on and maybe it affected your game. But overall I think that it’s almost a blessing in a way to have this time because I’ve taken a step back to understand what kind of player I want to be in this league, what kind of player I can be.”