Jake DeBrusk appears more concerned with the fact he hasn’t appeared on the score sheet yet than being public enemy No. 1 in this city.
The 22-year-old sophomore is coming off a fantastic 27-goal campaign, which itself arrived on the heels of a breakout post-season. The crown jewel of the 12 post-season goals DeBrusk scored last spring, of course, was his Game 7 rush winner that simultaneously burned Jake Gardiner and Frederik Andersen and eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Fast-forward a year, and DeBrusk is making Toronto headlines again, this time for his physical play helping bait nemesis Nazem Kadri into a suspension-worthy cross-check to the head late in Saturday’s Game 2 victory in Boston.
DeBrusk isn’t quite certain he’s comfortable being tagged as the player Leafs Nation loves to hate.
“Yes and no. I’ve never really been that before, enemy No. 1,” DeBrusk said, following Monday’s morning skate. “No matter what the distractions are off the ice, we agreed as a group to keep it internally. That helps, especially when things get out of hand.”
Blame the officials. Blame Kadri. But DeBrusk did his share to contribute to the things-getting-out-of-hand aspect of a wild Game 2.