Jake DeBrusk was selected to be in the Bruins’ roster when they face the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. But he may not be in the dark and gold for much longer after his trade request went public on Monday.
DeBrusk attended the team’s morning practice at Warrior Ice Arena but, via the team’s communications department, declined to speak to reporters about his request.
Both GM Don Sweeney and captain Patrice Bergeron did, however. And the GM was not caught off guard on Monday by DeBrusk’s request, whose healthy eradication on Sunday may have been the last – but not the only – straw for the player and the team.
In a perfect world, the B’s would likely have DeBrusk back down until a deal could be made. But with Brad Marchand (suspension) and Anton Blidh (upper body injury) unavailable, and with the Providence Bruins in the Covid lockdown and the player unable to be recalled, there was no choice but to play DeBrusk.
“Jake has certainly made it known that he would prefer a new opportunity. We expect Jake to play well, ”Sweeney said Tuesday morning. “It comes down to the fact that the Boston Bruins have to make a decision about hockey. And for Jake it’s about playing his best hockey, whether it’s for us – and I hope it will be for us tonight – but also if that leads to an opportunity elsewhere, he has to play his best hockey as that player. He knows it. He’s been very mature trying to handle this in the most appropriate way possible… We tried to envision a hockey situation that would help the Boston Bruins and while I do my job and accommodate this. that Jake thinks is the best. There is a balance there. This is the job.
Sweeney has confirmed he’s interested in DeBrusk, but also added that he won’t rule out trading him for futures as opposed to a current NHL player, or perhaps a combination of the two.
“It’s my only goal in this area, to make sure we’re doing what’s right for our club,” Sweeney said. “We are a competitive club and obviously we would like to be. How we do this may depend on what other teams can and cannot engage with. ”
When Sweeney took over Pierre Chiarelli in 2015, one of his goals was to ensure that the organization’s young talents were identified and nurtured to their potential. And it looked like DeBrusk (one of the B’s three first-round picks in 2015) was going to be one of the successes after a 27-goal season in his second season in the NHL. But since then it has been in decline. This season, which was hoped to be a rebounding year for the 25-year-old, he scored the game-winning goal in the season opener and had shown signs of better all-round play, but he entered the game. of Tuesday with totals of 3-3-6 in 17 games.
Sweeney treated a lot of young starting players – Ryan Lindgren, Danton Heinen, Ryan Donato Anders Bjork, Frank Vatrano – but all of those players were moved by the trade deadline as Sweeney tried to prepare for the playoffs. A few of these players (Donato and Bjork) got long term coins in Charlie coyle and Taylor Hall.
But this is the first time a young player has essentially put him in a corner.
“I think every team would like to develop their own players and get to know their own players and be as successful as possible and the team with that. This was the main objective. It was certainly when I took over and obviously before. And we have had some success. And Jake has been very successful, ”Sweeney said. “Sometimes players find themselves in a situation where they don’t feel like they’re playing their best hockey. And I think Jake would admit he didn’t play his best hockey. And sometimes players just say “Maybe it’s cleaner if I try to do it somewhere else.” And that’s probably where it happened. Responsibility is shared in this regard. It doesn’t mean that we stop working and stop trying to compete at the level at which we need to. And Jake has to come out and play his best game tonight because it’s the best for Jake and the Boston Bruins.
For a teammate to publicly state through his agent that he wants out could certainly create an uncomfortable situation in the locker room among teammates. But Bergeron expects continued professionalism from DeBrusk.
“For me, honestly, this is not a first and it will happen again. It’s just one of those things in sports where people ask for trades, ”Bergeron said. “For us, things don’t change. We’re going to expect Jake to be responsible like the rest of the guys, to work hard like the rest of the guys. Nothing changes. The culture remains the same, the way we approach things remains the same… It’s the approach we have as a team, it’s to play on the ice as a team, to play for each other, to play for the Boston Bruins and play for the crest. That’s what we expect from Jake, for now.
Cassidy placed in the Covid protocol
If things weren’t bad enough for the B’s, the team announced that coach Bruce Cassidy was placed in Covid-19 protocol on Tuesday morning. Sweeney said so far he has only experienced mild symptoms. According to the protocol, he will be absent for at least 10 days and a return depends on the dissipation of symptoms and subsequent tests.
Although it was not announced by the club, the assistant coach Chris Kelly had already been placed in Covid protocol after the last practice against Calgary on November 21.
Joe sacco was to take on the head coach duties while Cassidy was away as a goaltender coach Bob essensa and skills coach Kim branvold will also assume other duties.
The door remains wide open for Rask’s return
Although he has not yet started contract negotiations with the free goalkeeper Rask tuukka, who continues to rehab after hip surgery, Sweeney once again said the door was open. If Rask wants to return, it seems inevitable.
“There has been a general understanding that Tuukka has to make a decision about his health, first and foremost, and when he will be able to officially do it and state that is what he wants to do and play, then we’ll find some middle ground. We’ve made no secret of the fact that if he’s indeed healthy and wants to play, he’s probably going to be in our squad, ”Sweeney said.
His assessment of his two current goalkeepers, Jeremy swayman and Linus Ullmark?
“They’ve been OK,” Sweeney said. “I think both of them have had very, very good pockets of games and at other times they haven’t played as well as they would have liked.”