It is time to end this nonsense.
Last night, Pierre-Luc Dubois turned in this high-effort shift, clearly showing at the very least a disdain for his head coach, if not his teammates out there on the ice with him and the franchise as a whole:
Here's an iso of Pierre-Luc Dubois' final shift for the Blue Jackets tonight. The center saw 3:55 of ice time for the night and did not take a shift after the first period.#CBJ— 1st Ohio Battery (@1stOhioBattery) January 22, 2021
More: https://t.co/dkWp3poyVI pic.twitter.com/BcGQgJwheP
Head coach John Tortorella apparently saw enough of Dubois and his lack of effort after that shift, and as a result benched PLD for the rest of the night.
#CBJ / #TBLightning headed to overtime, tied 2-2. Third straight game with at least a point for #CBJ.— Aaron Portzline (@Aportzline) January 22, 2021
Pierre-Luc Dubois spent the final 44:53 of this game on the bench.
5 shifts, 3:55 total ice time. Nothing in the final two periods.
After the game, PLD declined to speak to the media through a team spokesman. Tortorella, on the other hand, was required to appear and did. He had some choice words:
Torts on Dubois: “I’m not going to have a discussion with you guys.” #CBJ— Mark Scheig (@markscheig) January 22, 2021
Torts doesn’t discuss decision to not play Dubois other than that he has to “call ‘em as I see ‘em.” #CBJ— Alison (@AlisonL) January 22, 2021
It’s time for this to end.
All of it - it’s time. The organization has to cut ties and move on, if there is to be a successful future of this organization.
First, unequivocally - PLD’s effort last night was unacceptable.
As a center signed for two more years, you are under contractual obligation to show up and at least act like you give a damn while you wear the sweater. Whatever the hell that was in the clip posted above - that was not effort. That was not “doing your job” to help the team win, as you stated when you spoke to the media after one of the games in Detroit. As a player, you went straight legged for thirty solid seconds. That deserves a benching.
That was the equivalent of raising a middle finger to the fans who have supported you from the minute you were brought in and elevated to first line center ten games into your rookie season cheered as you developed from junior prospect to number one center next to Artemi Panarin.
That is not professional behavior - that is a petulant child throwing a tantrum to get his way. Whatever is the issue - the market, the fact that you’re not as marketed as you would be in Montreal, hatred of your coach, baseless speculation by an idiot blogger writing an angry article - none of that is an excuse to dog it in a professional hockey game. Players like Kevin Stenlund, Nathan Gerbe, Andrew Peeke - those guys would work their ass off every second if given a shot to play and none of them possess nearly the skill PLD does. Dubois, one of the most talented players on this roster, is pissing his time and value away because he wants out for reasons he has yet to articulate. That is, of course, his prerogative, but it does not make things easier to understand.
Gliding over the ice doesn’t help you get traded, PLD. Acting like a hot head and then skating dead legged as the Bolts win board “battles” doesn’t help your cause.
All you did tonight was throw gasoline on a fire and set your trade value alight. Hopefully that was worth it. It is reminiscent of Sergei Bobrovsky leaving the bench in Tampa - the group put him in check and were able to finish out the season. Unfortunately, it seems like this situation is far more untenable.
Meanwhile, John Tortorella is not helping matters. Last week, he didn’t play PLD for an extended stretch but insisted it wasn’t a benching - you’ll know, he said. Last night?
"Told ya." -- John Tortorella, referencing his previous comment about how the media would know when he benches somebody.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) January 22, 2021
I guess you told us, Torts - benching your best center (even unhappy) as the team dropped to 1-2-2 in a 56 game season. Hope making the point was worth it.
Look, full disclosure - your author is not the biggest fan of Torts. I think his coaching style is outdated, his power play is worth a firing alone, and he’s hit his expiration date as the head coach of an NHL franchise. I’d cut bait, let Brad Shaw finish the season, and find an actual replacement this summer when there is time to seriously evaluate candidates and consider the future of the franchise.
Dubois was dogging it, but Tortorella was arguably worse. As the head coach of a hockey team, your job is to find a way to put your team in the best position to win hockey games. PLD may have earned himself a scratch for Saturday, but Tortorella did not cover himself in glory. He has consistently punished young talent in his time here, while allowing veterans the freedom to fail miserably all over the ice and with little to no rebuke (have a look at Cam Atkinson’s numbers from last night, and then explain why he deserved one second of ice time in overtime with the game in the balance),
The national media doesn’t affect decision making, but the narrative matters. Here’s the national narrative surrounding the controversial CBJ head coach:
Patrick Sharp on NBCSN: “You gotta move the guy at this point. It’s gonna get ugly.” #CBJ— Mark Scheig (@markscheig) January 22, 2021
Anson Carter rightly asking what players around the league are watching and wanting to play for Torts. Also rightly saying coach needs to evolve.— Jen (@NHLhistorygirl) January 22, 2021
At some point, it is time for the bullshit to end. Other players see this - players in the room, prospects, free agents. It’s no wonder no one wants to play for the organization.
No player is watching Torts antics and thinking “sign me up got that!” Not for a team that barely makes the playoffs for damned sure. It’s childish. It’s toxic and no one in any line of business wants to deal with a manager that behaves like that.— CapnCornelius (@CapnCornelius) January 22, 2021
None of this helps the franchise one iota. It all has to end.
First, PLD has responsibility - to his coaches, his teammates, and himself - to give a damn while he is on the ice wearing that sweater. He needs to be putting in effort on every shift. He said, in multiple interviews, that while he is here, he will be putting forth effort to help the team win. Last night was not that.
At the same time, it is the responsibility of the head coach to put the team in the best position to win. If that means benching PLD for a period, so be it. But to play him 3:55 in a game the team was competitive in the scoreline is does not help the team get the two points needed. There is already speculation from those in the national media that PLD will be a healthy scratch on Saturday, which also does not help the team win.
It’s time for all of this to end. We have a pattern as a franchise of talent coming here, bridges being burnt, talent leaving, and other talent following that talent out the door, either via free agency or trade request. We don’t know what has happened behind the scenes, what relationships are frayed or fractured beyond repair, but everyone has had the experience of working in an environment where they feel disrespected and may not put forth the effort necessary. That is not an excuse, but more an attempt to understand.
It’s time of all of it to end. PLD and his distraction must be removed from the room, and it is time to begin cleaning house and changing the core voices of the team. This era of the Columbus Blue Jackets has run its course, the ceiling has been reached, and it is time for the shakeup and changes to begin.
A note - this is a volatile and stressful situation, with emotions running high and will continue to do so for much of the weekend as this continues to unfold with the team. Comments will be moderated, personal attacks will not be tolerated, nor will insults to players or coaching staff (including name calling, degrading words, etc.). Please remember the rules of the community and keep the discussion civil as we all work to process this scenario and cope with the strife within the team.