Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy made struggling forward Jake DeBrusk a healthy scratch Tuesday night and called out his effort when explaining the decision.
“We just feel we're not getting the effort required,” Cassidy said. “It's not always about the score sheet; it's about being one of 20 guys helping you win. Some nights it's there, some nights it's not. Again, we've tried different messaging with the player. Sometimes going upstairs and taking a look is not a bad way to go.”
Jermaine Wiggins of The Greg Hill Show has been critical of Cassidy for publicly questioning a player’s effort like that, saying that, as a former player, he doesn’t think it works and that you risk losing the player for good when a coach does it.
Bruins president Cam Neely joined the show Thursday morning and Wiggy got a chance to ask him about Cassidy’s comments and what he thinks about it both as a former player and now as an executive.
“Well, I can tell you this, it’s not the first time… I think they would talk to the player before the media ever gets wind of it,” Neely said. “And it’s probably multiple conversations. I think actually Butch mentioned that the coaching staff has talked to Jake on numerous occasions, before he would ever go to the media with something like that.”
Cassidy said that he had met one-on-one with DeBrusk, and that DeBrusk had also met with assistant coaches Joe Sacco and Jay Pandolfo, as well as veterans on the team.
Based on both Cassidy and Neely’s comments, it seems pretty clear that Cassidy and the coaching staff have tried other tactics behind closed doors, and that benching him and going public with that criticism was something of a last resort.
Listen to the full interview with Neely below: