It felt like changes were inevitably coming for the bottom-6 forwards on the Boston Bruins given the words and actions of the B’s coaching staff. Now they are here as Jake DeBrusk has been removed from the Black and Gold lineup for Tuesday night’s tilt vs. the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena and hardnosed rookie Trent Frederic will draw back in for the Bruins.
The 22-year-old Frederic has missed the last 11 games after last playing in an April 6 win over the Flyers before succumbing to an illness that knocked him out of commission for a couple of weeks. The youngster had been practicing with the team for a bit, but this is his first chance to bust into the lineup since things solidified with the additions of Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar at the NHL trade deadline.
Given that Bruce Cassidy was clamoring for more net-front play from his bottom-6 guys following Sunday afternoon’s shutout loss to the Penguins, the insertion of the 6-foot-2, 210-pound beast made a ton of sense.
The message is pretty clear there for Frederic.
“Just play your game and do your part,” said Cassidy. “There may be an adjustment to [Frederic] getting his timing back, but just get your feet moving and get the motor going early. Just make there is some pace to the game and everything else will fall into place.”
It’s also a very simple message to DeBrusk as he comes out of the lineup after one goal in 13 games during the month of April while struggling to make an impact out-of-position as a right winger.
“We just need a higher compete level. Every player is in a different place in their career here, and we just talked to him about the standard that we expect him to play to,” said Cassidy of DeBrusk, who is on a pace for eight goals and 22 points over the course of an 82-game schedule. “Everyone is going to have an “off” night, but it’s not about individual stats. It’s about helping this team win. In order to do that if guys aren’t scoring, and if I put him in that category then there are a few other guys for sure, then help us win.
“We need whatever it takes from player 1-20 in the lineup that night to help us win. We have to make sure we get in the playoffs and then get to our game every night. We feel like if we play to our standard, play to our level and play to our game, then we will get in [to the playoffs]. Then from there, who knows? He’s not alone in terms of his numbers not going be where he wants them to be, but that has to be secondary this time of year.”
Clearly there are other struggling B’s players as well with Charlie Coyle having gone without a goal in his last 27 games, but he’s also a player that’s doing other things to help the Boston Bruins win hockey games. The rest of the lineup will feature Connor Clifton drawing back in for the Bruins and Tuukka Rask getting the starting nod between the pipes: