Bruins prospect Jake DeBrusk is attending his first professional development camp after being selected by the Black & Gold in the first round (14th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.
DeBrusk is excited to develop his game and share his experiences in a daily blog during his week at Bruins Development Camp.
The Edmonton, AB, CAN native is a left shot forward who played his previous two seasons in the WHL for the Swift Current Broncos. The 6'0'', 174-pound forward led his team this past season with 42 goals (good for sixth overall in the WHL), adding 39 assists for 81 points in 72 games.
DeBrusk’s father, Louie, played 401 NHL games with Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Phoenix and Chicago in a 12-year career from 1991-2003 - and, ironically, was coached by Claude Julien with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2001-02.
DeBrusk Blog Day 3: Ice Breaker
It was another early morning, so none of us stayed up too late. After the welcome meeting a few of the guys and myself hung out in our rooms, talked about our travels and the days to come. In the meeting they went around the room and had us introduce ourselves to all our teammates and the staff. I was surprised by the amount of staff we have involved in a camp like this. Everybody, including the whole Providence staff, is involved, which is awesome. Remembering all of the names right off the bat is going to be difficult but will certainly get more familiar as the week goes on.
Today was my first time touching the ice since the off-season started and it felt good. It’s a good pace out there. You’re competing with great players, so obviously you want to prove yourself. There are times when the nerves start to hit, but I missed that. I missed the simple pleasures of getting on the ice and shooting some pucks around. The speed was tough to adapt to in the first couple minutes, but as the skate went on I thought I got back to my old self.
The competition is much faster. Guys shoot incredibly hard, which is mostly strength dependent. It’s just one level up on everything, much like when you jump to Canadian juniors from midget hockey. We had the fitness tests beforehand, so everybody was a little gassed, including myself. It’s incredibly exciting to compete against the best competition possible and push to get stronger every day. It is hard, but it quickly gets in your head to do things a half second earlier, shoot as hard as you can and you adjust. And I think I’m adjusting to it already.
Coming into camp I never expected to be holding a tire for a longer time than my stick. It sounds funny, but it’s an incredibly difficult drill. The purpose of holding the tire is your shoulder positioning -- you want to be facing where you are turning. So when you work on your edges, while holding the tire in front of your chest, you’ve got to try to lean in with the tire. That’s what the coaching staff was teaching us, to lean our shoulders in when we’re about to cross over our edges. It’s a lot of body movement to focus on at once, but great for muscle memory. It’s something I actually work on at home. I don’t usually do it with tires but I probably will from now on. Everything, including our protecting-the-puck drill, was about edgework today.
The hardest part of the day was waiting to do the 300 meter shuttle and watching the other guys do it. The waiting was even harder than the actual shuttle itself. You look through the window and you see guys bent over, breathing heavy, hurting and so it’s very nerve wracking. It reminds me of the combine, dreading the Wingate or the VO2. You wait so long and then when it finally happens you just let all the energy out.
The most surreal part of the day was putting on the jersey and seeing the fans. It’s amazing how many people were up there in the cold practice rink to support us. I used to be one of those kids as well. I would go out and support my favorite hockey team growing up. It’s an incredibly cool moment to be on the other side of that.
I’m interested to see what’s in store for tomorrow and I can’t wait to get out there again!
--As told to Zach Guerette