Jim Montgomery sent an early message to Jake DeBrusk after the forward was a healthy scratch for the Bruins’ win against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. DeBrusk was late to a team meeting, which prompted the move.
“Yesterday is over with. We worry about today and he gets a chance here to come back and help us win hockey games,” Montgomery said prior to Sunday’s puck drop. “I thought he handled it well. He handled it like a pro.”
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DeBrusk was scratched under Bruce Cassidy during the 2020-21 season, but because he couldn’t quite find a groove. He responded well to the benching and had a chance to play on the top line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. There he began to play a bit better and became a mainstay on the top line last year in Montgomery’s first year as coach.
Benching DeBrusk so early in the season was certainly a statement made by Montgomery. But he didn’t want it to be seen as him sending a message to the younger players on the team. Instead, he wants his players to know there’s standards that he expects them to meet.
“There’s just a standard that we believe in here. When that standard isn’t met, there’s repercussions,” he said. “But yesterday is over with. It’s a new day and we’re moving forward.”
DeBrusk has been held without a point through the three games he’s played, but he can snap that Sunday as the Bruins look to remain undefeated.