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TORTORELLA REACTS AFTER BENCHING PIERRE-LUC DUBOIS FOR ALMOST AN ENTIRE GAME

The saga of Pierre-Luc Dubois and John Tortorella continues to deepen in Columbus. Dubois, usually the Blue Jackets' number one centre, played just 3:35 of ice time in his team's 3-2 ovetime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Dubois did not get a shift in the 2nd or 3rd periods, or during overtime. Following the game, Tortorella was, of course, asked about benching Dubois after denying he had forced him to ride the pine in the previous game. At first, he told reporters he wasn't going to discuss it with them, but he relented somewhat.

"I really don't make decisions as far as minutes. It's up to the player to show me," Tortorella said postgame. "If there's one thing I'm pretty easy to read on is the minutes. You're going to get out there if you play the proper way. ... The onus is on the player. And it's on all players - not just the player we're talking about here that sat. It's all the players. I'm not a hard guy to read as far as that's concerned."

"I've coached Luc like this for a couple years, as far as trying to get him to get some growth in his game and growth as a pro," Tortorella added Thursday. "Nothing changes here. ... I think you're asking the wrong guy. I'm just a coach trying to make it work with a hockey club, trying to find a way to win games. The person that you keep talking to me about, you should ask him."

Based on this shift in the first, perhaps Tortorella had good reason to bench Dubois for at least some of the game. It appears he's not really into it and his teammates don't even want to acknowledge he's on the ice.


Following the game, Oliver Bjorkstrand was asked if he thought Dubois was being a good teammate.

"I won't comment on that," was all he would say.

Dubois refused an interview request by media. He had made it clear that he wanted out of Columbus before the season began but the team seemed willing to hold on to him in order to get the right price. At this point, perhaps it's best for all sides if the relationship between the player and team ends as quickly as possible.



TIM TUCKER
JANUARY 22, 2021  (7H51)
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