When the dust settled on the blockbuster trade that saw Pierre-Luc Dubois moved to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrick Laine and Jack Roslovic, the hockey world wanted to know what really happened in Columbus. What was it that led Dubois to wanting out and how did the situation with the Blue Jackets deteriorate so quickly?
Ron MacLean spoke with Dubois Saturday before the center hopped on a charter plane to Winnipeg and asked him directly, “Why? When did you know that you had to leave Columbus?”
Dubois said this wasn’t something that just happened. It was a situation that had been building over time and as he grew older and spent more time with the organization, it became clearer and clearer that his long-term future wasn’t going to be with the team. He said, “I said since the start I’m not going to go into detail and I won’t, but I can say it was a process.” He added, “I was thinking about it a long time, it wasn’t overnight, it wasn’t, you know, I just woke up one morning and it was a decision to make.”
He noted it was during the negotiations of his latest contract that it became clear this wasn’t probably going to work out. “As the negotiations were going, you don’t take anything personally, but as they longer and longer, you kind of start to think about stuff and situations.”
Dubois The Human Didn’t See A Fit in Columbus
Dubois said there was Dubois the hockey player and Dubois the human and in order to stay true to himself and to his teammates, he had to be real about the fact that had he signed a longer deal, he knew he was going to want to be moved at some point. “This is something I knew I would have wanted.”
Essentially, he hinted that it was better to let everyone know now.
He knows that not everyone was happy about it and he understands that, but he does believe that his teammates are also friends and that at the end of the day, they all just want their friends to be happy. He spoke with everyone before camp started and tried to get the awkwardness out of the way. “I didn’t want to play games with my teammates, if anything I respect them more than anybody.”
Dubois didn’t go into specifics about what he didn’t like about the team, the city or the situation, but he did make it clear that he knew this partnership wasn’t going to work out long-term. Better to rip the Band-Aid off than prolong anything.
Not About the Coach
The other thing he made clear was that this wasn’t about John Tortorella. Dubois said he knew prior to being drafted what Tortorella was all about and had talked to a lot of players who had him as a coach. While it wasn’t always easy, he kept in his mind that Tortorella was only trying to make him a better player and a better person.
There were times during the interview that Dubois called him “Torts”, cueing McLean to ask him about his affections for the man who used to be his bench boss. “The consensus I got, was that he helps guys, he motivates guys, he gets guys going.” He added that it might be hard to see when you’re 20, but he’ll look back and know Tortorella did great things for him and turned him into a better hockey player.
“For some people, that might be the reason, but it’s not,” he said when confirming it wasn’t the coaching that led him to want out. “I can take it, it’s nothing personal.”
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