Harris: DeBrusk father, son have emotional night
Some day, if he’s lucky, Jake DeBrusk will be a hockey dad himself and he will understand the tears that flowed from his dad’s eyes last night at the Garden.
Louie DeBrusk was one of the certifiable tough guys in the 1990s in the NHL, a fellow tough enough to fight the biggest and baddest fighters of his time.
But last night, like so many hockey dads before him, he couldn’t hold back the tears after his son, in his first NHL game, scored his first career goal, helping the Bruins net an impressive 4-3 victory over defending Western Conference champ Nashville.
“He’s known as a tough guy, but I heard that there were some tears coming from him,” said Jake DeBrusk. “It was a very emotional time. I’ll be chirping him about it for a couple of years to come.
“Obviously when you’re a father you have a lot of proud moments. But I think this one right, now, is at the top of his list.”
Louie DeBrusk took a red-eye from Edmonton to get here, along with Jake’s mom, sister, girlfriend and grandmother. The happy family was shown frequently on TV and on the scoreboard. But when DeBrusk scored 5:48 into the second period, giving the B’s a 2-1 lead, there was no way he could look up into the stands — Jim Craig-style — and spot his dad. He was, as he put it, a little busy
“I was kind if getting a little bit tackled on the bench by some of the guys,” he said with a laugh. “But I heard about it after when I was doing an interview. I heard that he was crying. I kind of couldn’t believe it, because I’ve never seen him cry.
“But he’s very emotional. It’s one of those things I’ve dreamed off. For him, he’s played in the NHL, and to see me get here was just the icing on the cake for me to score.”
Louie DeBrusk corrected his son: He has shed tears before — after Jake scored his very first youth hockey goal. This one, we suspect, will be a somewhat bigger memory.
“Yeah, it was really emotional,” said Louie. “You know how bad these kids want it. For Jake, I knew how badly he wanted it last year, and he worked really hard in the offseason.
“If I had let (the emotions) go on, I would have started bawling. I had to really check it, because I was getting emotional. I cried when he scored his first goal, too, his very first goal ever in hockey. It took him 11 games. He took like four whacks at it in the blue paint and he finally jammed it home. I got it on video. I was just so pumped.”
DeBrusk junior needed just one whack to find the net this time. He popped open coming down the slot, took a sweet feed from linemate David Krejci on his backhand, switched to the forehand and scooped the puck past star Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne.
“I saw Grizzie (Matt Grzelcyk) come up the wall with a pass from Tuukka (Rask). He popped it to Bjorkie (Anders Bjork). As soon as (Bjork) made the play to Krech, I was kind of already in line with David.
“So I knew it was coming to me because I knew Krejci always makes that play. I was thinking about my move: I was hard on my stick, because I knew the defenseman was going to give me a little bit of flack. I made a move and it went in. Pretty big celly after.”
That’s Gen X for celebration. There was a lot of that last night for DeBrusk’s fellow rookies Charlie McAvoy (goal and assist) and Bjork (one assist).
B’s coach Bruce Cassidy and the team brass had to be thrilled by what DeBrusk and the other kids did.
“Smart player,” said Cassidy of DeBrusk. “You can’t teach that. He’s got a good feel for the game. We’ve talked about liking his pace.
“For him, it’s playing against big men now. Is he ready for that. (Last night), he looked good.”
After a very impressive first night win, there will be plenty of don’t-get-too-high/don’t get-too-low talk for the Bruins. But for Jake DeBrusk and family, there was nothing wrong with letting emotions go.