By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — After the thrilling highs of their season-opening win over the defending Western Conference champion Predators, the talented but young and green Bruins came crashing back to Earth with a deafening thud on Monday. But there’s always the chance that their letdown loss to the lowly Avalanche could actually be a blessing.
It’s not important that this edition of the Bruins is perfect every night. What really matters is that when they falter, they respond. Wednesday night’s rematch against the Avs in Denver would present a perfect opportunity for that.
One of the Bruins’ promising young players in need of a quick bounce-back is winger Jake DeBrusk, who scored his first career NHL goal in the season opener but struggled in his own end against the Avs. Head coach Bruce Cassidy eventually shunned DeBrusk to fourth line duty in the Bruins’ ugly 4-0 defeat to Colorado, a team that is widely expected to be in the draft lottery next summer.
The coach, and even some of the players, acknowledged that the Bruins may have been a little too satisfied with their effort after beating the Predators. It resulted in some disappointing practices in the following days, which DeBrusk said the team made sure to improve ahead of Wednesday’s game.
“[Cassidy] was talking about, mostly, that we weren’t crisp at all. The pace wasn’t up and we just weren’t making plays,” DeBrusk told reporters on Tuesday of the Bruins’ practices between their first and second games. “[Tuesday], I thought it was better than those two practices. It’s obviously a different feel than after a win and guys are a little more ready to go, and going into this road trip with travel, you want to get your legs under you and flush the venom out. I thought we did that today.”
Cassidy agreed with DeBrusk that the team looked better in practice on Tuesday than it did prior to Monday’s loss, particularly with getting pucks close to the net and defending against the slot, which they did not do well against the Avs. The coach was happy with the players’ mix of energy and concentration.
“I did like the way they responded. They seemed to be in a work-like mode, without being down on themselves,” said Cassidy. “I thought there was a good balance. They tried to have some zip, but still had some focus.”
The coach isn’t exactly known for mincing words, so when he says he liked the team’s response to the loss, he means it. His comments were a good sign that the Bruins’ young talent learned from the mistakes they made on Monday and plan for their improved practices to translate to the ice at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.
“It shows your character as a player and a person. It’s about how you bounce back and how you deal with that stuff. It’s not gonna be easy by any means,” said DeBrusk. “But that’s what we’re all looking to do. We’re all driven, motivated. I know I want to stay in the lineup, and so do other guys. … We’re gonna put our best foot forward and give our best effort and see how it goes from there.”
Like DeBrusk said, it doesn’t even matter if the B’s win or lose on Wednesday. It’s the effort that matters. On Monday they were sloppy and disorganized, and at times listless. At the very least, a more high-energy performance would bode well for the team moving forward.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.