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Tortorella Denies Benching Dubois, Center Scores and Ice Time Returns

John Tortorella only played Pierre-Luc Dubois for one shift in the final 7 minutes of the second period Monday. Did he bench his top center?

The Columbus Blue Jackets versus Detroit Red Wings game on Monday afternoon was an interesting contest for a couple of reasons. Not only did Bobby Ryan score a couple of goals — making that three on the season — but Pierre-Luc Dubois seemingly got benched in the second period before scoring his first goal of the 2020-21 campaign.

Related: Bobby Ryan Making the Most of a Fresh Start with Red Wings

Head coach John Tortorella sat Dubois for an extended period of time in the second period, playing him for just one shift in the final seven minutes. Tortorella didn’t say anything to the player and it didn’t look like Dubois had done anything to warrant being benched. Both sides reacted to questions about it as though it was not a big deal.

Still, it’s interesting timing considering Tortorella recently said he wasn’t sure things would be completely smooth in Columbus moving forward knowing Dubois wanted out of the organization and trade rumors continue to swirl around the first-line pivot.

Tortorella denied benching Dubois and said, “You’ll know when I bench someone. Don’t try to manifest something as far as the benching.” Tortorlla elaborated on his decision a bit by saying to the media:

“You guys are really dissecting this benching and sitting. I guess I benched Max [Domi] the other night, you said. Slow down, boys. You’ll know when I bench someone. I have to make decisions when the game is being played, when I think someone is going at certain times. But don’t try to manifest something as far as the benching. That’s all part of a three-period hockey game.”

As for why Dubois was sat, that wasn’t made clear.

Dubois Did Eventually Score

Interestingly, after he sat for a while, Dubois scored his first goal of the season at the 6:26 mark of the third period and his ice time returned to normal after that. It was his first point in the Jackets’ first three games.

Perhaps it was as simple as Tortorella not seeing something in his game and skipping a shift or two was a quick reminder to a disgruntled player who is getting first line minutes that the right to play on the top line can vanish in a hurry. Whether that was the messaging and whether it worked or not we may never know.

Next: Oilers Make Big Changes to Blue Line Ahead of Game With Canadiens

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