By Joe Travia | Follow me on Twitter @NHLJoeTravia
Welcome to my new series for blackngoldhockey.com, Boston Bruins Film Session! In my 31 years watching hockey, I have found that reading the box score is just a small part of evaluating a player’s overall performance. While the goal highlights are always nice, they are just small moments that happen throughout the course of a 60-minute hockey game. My mission with this series is to look beyond the flashy goal highlights (though those will be there too) in an attempt to better analyze a Boston Bruins player on any given night. I felt a great starting point would be one of the Bruins best performers over the last few months, Jake DeBrusk.
As my colleague Melanie DaSilva wrote, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk is on Fire. A polarizing figure amongst the Bruins fanbase, the much-maligned DeBrusk has had his struggles in Boston. After starting the year poorly, word leaked out that Debrusk was seeking a fresh start elsewhere and had requested a trade. Five months later, he remains a Bruin, has a new two-year, $8 million deal, and is playing the best hockey of his professional career alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. On Monday night, April 4th, he scored two goals, including the game-winner, in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Let’s take a look at some of the plays that stood out to me from his game and show how that has led to the improvement in his overall game.
Speed off the rush
Keeping possessions alive with positioning and tenacity
Effort and communication on the backcheck
I LOVED this play by DeBrusk and was glad Andy Brickley pointed it out about 15 seconds later. The communication with Charlie McAvoy to let him know he had Sean Kuraly covered (allowing McAvoy to play tighter on Zach Werenski) was great, but what really stands out is the effort. DeBrusk is essentially at the top of the crease when Kuraly gathers the puck and starts going the other way. Without his effort to get back, there would have been a far more dangerous scoring chance for the Blue Jackets.
Goal scorers touch
As you can see from this freeze frame, DeBrusk recognized that all five Blue Jackets players were on the right half of the ice, and the nearest defenseman was paying no attention to him. McAvoy has just gathered the puck, and DeBrusk is already letting him know he is open.
Not making the same mistake twice
So there you have it. Overall, it was a fantastic game from Jake DeBrusk. When he is engaged in all aspects, he can be entertaining to watch. If he continues to play like this, the goals will continue to come, and the Bruins will be a far more dangerous team come playoff time.
Leave a Reply