Time and again this season, Bruce Cassidy has thrown down the gauntlet.
When he didn’t like how a player, line, defensive pairing or the overall team was performing, he wouldn’t hold back. It didn’t matter if the player on the other end was a veteran or a rookie. If the coach had conviction and believed something needed to be addressed, he would do so and the end result was usually a positive one.
Ask Torey Krug. Earlier in the season, he was benched during a crucial game. He wasn’t happy about it, but he responded with one of his better games of the season and carried that momentum for a long stretch of games.
Ask Jake DeBrusk. Too many times this season, the rookie forward was on the receiving end of an ear full. When he found himself on press level as a healthy scratch, he would respond accordingly the next game, too. Even when Cassidy gives it to DeBrusk during a game, the young forward always fixes the wrong.
The same can be said for Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork. Heck, the same can be said for every player on the roster. You get the point here: when Cassidy sends a message, it’s usually received.
So, it’ll be interesting to see how Tuukka Rask responds after getting pulled during the team’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 5 on Saturday at TD Garden.