As expected, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed that winger Jake DeBrusk, along with forward Erik Haula will be healthy scratches for the team’s game against the Vancouver Canucks Sunday night at TD Garden. Cassidy also made it crystal clear why he was once again making DeBrusk watch a game from the press box.
“I think what happens with Jake and what we’ve seen over the last few years is that when the production is there, you’re getting more second effort,” Cassidy said following the game-day skate Sunday morning. “They kind of go hand and hand and when it’s not there, we lose a little bit of that, and that’s been the ask of him for a number of years now. No drop-off on this side of the ledger just because the production isn’t there. You can label him as. …hey, any 20-goal scorer only scores once every four games right? If that’s kind of playing every game more or less. You still need to do other things.”
🎥 Coach Cassidy confirms that Trent Frederic will return to the lineup tonight against the Canucks to center Nick Foligno and Karson Kuhlman, while Erik Haula and Jake DeBrusk will be healthy scratches: pic.twitter.com/Ro6YEaPN5d
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) November 28, 2021
DeBrusk is no stranger to Cassidy’s dog house as his inconsistent effort and play have seen him frustrate the Boston Bruins coaching staff before.
“Hopefully Jake, a little time away, have some time to watch up top sometimes players take (something away) from that,” Cassidy said last April after DeBrusk’s third healthy scratch of the 2021 regular season. “Other times, it doesn’t happen that way. So we just want him to be grateful for his spot in the lineup, just help us win, Jake. Get out there and play to your strengths and we’ll coach you up on the things that you need to get better on. Just be one of 20 guys to help us win.”
At that point of the 2021 season for the Boston Bruins, DeBrusk had just four goals and 11 points in 35 games this and just one goal in his last 14 games. He would finish the season with five goals and nine assists in 41 games and then add just two goals and an assist in ten playoff games and sit another game out as a health scratch. DeBrusk currently has three goals and three assists in 17 games and hasn’t lit the lamp in his last five games. Once again though, DeBrusk’s lack of scoring isn’t the main issue with his coach.
“So a little bit more of an ask on second effort away from the puck, working to keep it out of your net, et cetera,” Cassidy went on Sunday. “We understand certain guys can be physical when they’re not scoring; bring something to the game and for him, it’s foot speed. I’d like to see that every night. I’d like to see him impact the game with his foot speed every night, whether it’s forecheck or attacking the net, penalty kill, whatever the case may be. That’s kind of where we’re at and we’re starting to see that dropoff again. So it’s a reminder again that ‘hey, bring us the effort and hopefully the production happens but we need that.”
As reported here just over a week ago, the 25-year-old winger is once again being bantered about in NHL trade rumors and if he doesn’t answer the bell consistently after this latest healthy scratch, the Bruins 14th overall pick at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft could find himself playing elsewhere soon.
With DeBrusk and Haula sitting up top, Karson Kuhlman and Trent Frederic will draw into the lineup for the Boston Bruins against the Canucks Sunday. Frederic will center Kuhlman and Nick Foligno who moves to the left wing. Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark will also return from injury after missing his last start.