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MATT PORTER

Bruins’ moms enjoying road trip with their sons

Brad Marchand said having the players’ moms come along on the trip to Nashville “was a lot of positivity, which is what we need right now.”FILE/MICHAEL DWYER/ASSOCIATED PRESS/Associated Press

NASHVILLE — A woman with blond hair, a sunny smile, and a No. 74 Bruins jersey stood by the visitors’ bench, next to the entrance tunnel. She had a fist bump or a shoulder pat for every player who passed her on their way to the ice.

“Attaboy, Krug.”

“Here we go, Coyle.”

“Way to be, McAvoy.”

Cindy DeBrusk’s enthusiasm did not surprise her son.

“Not at all,” Jake DeBrusk said after a sigh. “I gave my mom a set of rules to not do on the trip, and she’s already broken a couple. She’s usually supposed to be taking care of me, but I’ve got to take care of her. Especially here in Nashville. She’s never been here before, so she’s trying to live it up. She’s got the jam, that’s for sure.”

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The Bruins’ “Army of the Moms,” as DeBrusk called them, has made the most of Music City. After arriving on the team plane Monday, they shared stories and bottles of wine over dinner, then took it to the rooftop at Tootsie’s, one of the well-known honky tonk bars on Broadway. They sat on the bench before Tuesday’s morning skate at Bridgestone Arena, all wearing their sons’ jerseys, and had a suite reserved for the game.

It came at a good time for the team, which hadn’t won in three games entering Tuesday and watched its Atlantic Division lead shrink from 15 to 6 points over the last month.

“With a bit of a lull it’s nice to make it a little lighter,” said Brad Marchand, who spent some quality time with his mom, Lynn. “Sometimes when you’re not doing as well you can get a little down, or things get a little tense. It was a very light night, everyone had a lot of fun, and it’s taken pressure away from getting on the road again. It was a lot of positivity, which is what we need right now.”

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The Bruins said 22 moms made the trip. They were invited for the first time since January 2017, when they accompanied their boys to Pittsburgh. The team hosted the dads in Nashville in 2018, and Raleigh, N.C., in 2016. Before that, the Bruins brought their fathers for a five-day road trip in 2007.

“I think any time’s a good time,” coach Bruce Cassidy said before Tuesday night’s game against the Predators. “Right now, yeah, it’s good timing. Nashville’s a good city. Hopefully they get some decent weather to walk around and see a bit of the sites here this afternoon, and see their boys play here tonight.”

Cassidy, who lost his mom, Louise, when he was coaching Providence in 2011, and his father, Leonard, when he was 20, was pleased to see the bonding.

“They get to know the other moms that have been through a lot of similar sort of ups and downs through the careers of certain players, their sons, share stories and lean on each other a little bit, as well,” he said. “Whoever came up with the idea, I’ve said it before, moms, dads, I think it was a great idea.”

Lynn Marchand agrees with her son’s assessment that she’s an “intense” hockey mom. She was a coach in the stands, and in the car afterward. But she did want to set the record straight.

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“He was quoted this weekend as saying he gets his lippiness from me,” she said. “I have to correct that. He gets it from his father. He gets his quick feet from me . . . I’m not athletic at all, but I scurry everywhere.”

She is relieved that her son is now more focused on scoring than stirring the pot. She used to stress when he’d visit the penalty box.

“He’s learning not to cross that line so often, but it still happens from time to time, because that’s the kind of player he is,” she said. “That’s when the mom comes out and you say, just stop! That’s when you use his name, ‘Bradley Kevin, just stop!’ ”

Cindy DeBrusk confirmed her son’s love for goal celebrations at their Edmonton home over Christmas break, when she came across video footage of his first goal.

“He was this big,” she said. “He wiped out, stick went flying, got up, cellied, skated across the rink. It was like 8-0. He’s always been about the celly. Loves scoring goals, always has.”

The trip had Angie Carlo remembering Brandon’s milestones, such as becoming a captain of various youth teams, and the first hockey jersey he wore.

“It was navy blue and gold, very close to the Bruins colors,” she said, recalling how little Brandon, out in Colorado Springs, dabbled in baseball, football, and soccer and was a latecomer to hockey. “We didn’t know anything about hockey players, or what number you should pick. The coach gave him this jersey, No. 37, and he ended up getting drafted No. 37 overall.

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“Brandon always goes, ‘Mom, you can’t compare these things . . . ’ but I’m like, the colors are the same, it was meant to be!”

Years later, the big kid they stuck on defense has become a bona fide, top-four NHL defenseman. His mom beams when she talks about him, like the rest of the moms do when talking about their sons.

“I’m an unconditional supporter,” Cindy DeBrusk said. “It’s not about the wins or the losses. Even for Jake, it wasn’t about his performance, it was about, are you having fun? It’s about the friends and the memories and the moments. It’s about the learning, too.

“Mostly just, are you having fun? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you eating properly?”


Matt Porter can be reached at matthew.porter@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattyports.