Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois spoke Friday for the first time about getting benched during his team's 3-2 overtime loss Thursday night to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Dubois, who finished the game with 3:55 of ice time and did not log a shift after the first period, said all the right things about being a better teammate and being a better hockey player for the Blue Jackets but refused once again to get into specifics about why he's requested a trade.
Were you surprised at being benched?
“I definitely have to be better. As hockey players, we all want to be out there. We all want to help the team make a difference. I can acknowledge that I can be better, I can be a better player. I haven’t had the start of the season that I wanted. Like I said, as hockey players, it’s just in us to help the team win and be out there and help our teammates.”
Can you block out your desire to be traded while on the ice?
“Like I said, as hockey players, we have one job and it’s to try to help the team. It’s to be good teammates, whether playing PK, whether playing power play or whether you’re supposed to score goals, being a good teammate on the bench, providing. You know, that’s all that we can do. That’s all that I can control. Like I said, I can be better. That’s my job is to be better and to help the team win.”
Do you think you’ve been a good teammate and a good person?
“Like I said, I could have had a better start to the season. I hold myself to a high standard and I haven’t played to the level I know I can play and I can do a lot more out there. Whenever the next game is, I’ve got to step up my game. I acknowledge that. I know that.”
Does last night motivate you more? Or does it make the situation here worse?
“It is what it is. That wasn’t the first time I got benched by Torts and I wasn’t the first guy that got benched by Torts. Whether it’s Torts or another coach, guys get benched and I think and they gotta learn from it. It’s definitely something you don’t want to repeat or for it to repeat itself. You gotta be better. You just want to be out there and help the team win and the fact that I couldn’t definitely motivates you to step up your game and get back to the level of hockey I know I can play at.”
Do you think your effort level has been where it can be?
“I think it’s my all-around game. I felt good in camp, to be honest, but I think it’s a mixture of everything. Offensively, defensively, forechecking, back-checking. Like I said, I hold myself to a high standard and I know what level I can play at. There’s not a lot right now that I’m satisfied with and I know I can take a step up in every aspect of my game.”
Is it getting more difficult to separate the off-ice stuff from the on-ice stuff?
“Like I said before, as hockey players have one job and it’s to help the team win. When you get to the rink for a game, you kind of get into a different world. You get into just getting ready to play a game and that’s how I’ve always approached it since I was a pee wee playing until now. What’s on the ice is on the ice. Pierre-Luc Dubois the hockey player is different than Pierre-Luc Dubois, a guy at home with his family. It’s just a different game out there, different situations. Like I said, I’ll try to be the best player I can be for the team.”
Do you think your play warranted the benching?
“That’s the coach’s decision. It’s out of my control. I can be a better player and I know that and I acknowledge that. My play hasn’t been to the level it can be at. What happened last night, that’s a coach’s decision. The coach is paid to coach and the players are paid to play and there’s not much that I can control in that decision.”
“I know a lot of people are asking this or wondering, but the discussions I have with the team and management, the players, will always remain private. I think that’s how it should go and that’s how it’s going to go.”
Why do you want to be traded?
“I said this at the beginning of camp and I’ll say it again. I know a lot of people are asking this or wondering, but the discussions I have with the team and management, the players, will always remain private. I think that’s how it should go and that’s how it’s going to go.”
Will you be playing Saturday?
“I don’t know. I think we’ll know pretty soon. We just had practice and an optional skate and I went out there, but we’ll see from there. If I am, if I’m not, I’ve got to be better and if I get that chance, I definitely will be a better player.”
Do you think the situation between you and John Tortorella has become personal?
“Like I said, coaches are paid to coach, and players are paid to play. What happened last night is out of my control. I can be a better player and I have to be for this team.”
How would you expect this to impact you once you get back on the ice?
“It shouldn’t. I’m a hockey player and I have to be better in a lot of aspects. Defensively, offensively, forechecking, back-checking, faceoffs, power play, you name it. I have one job and it’s to go out there and help the team win. There’s no gray area. It’s a yes or no answer. If you did help the team, you did your job and if you didn’t, then you didn’t do it. Tomorrow, I’m not sure, but I will be ready whenever the opportunity comes.”