Some players just have a reputation to them, one that they cannot shake off - a bit like Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand. Despite his on ice obvious talent, you just know he is a trouble maker. The same situation can be applied to Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky, who is well known for ticking people off on the ice, and dropping the gloves to motivate his teammates, but he can also play the game... Well, usually he can.
However, since the report was made known back in January that Dubinsky was sent back to Columbus "to deal with ongoing personal issues that have hampered his season and could threaten his career", the veteran forward has been struggling quite a bit. The Athletic had cited unidentified sources and alluded to something that may have happened during the Blue Jackets' four-day stay in Las Vegas that triggered the decision to send Dubinsky back to Columbus.
His agent, Kurt Overhardt, had denied to The Athletic that the move was disciplinary, adding that his client's career was not threatened by off-ice issues or actions.
“He was sent home for medical diagnosis,” Overhardt said. “He's had several injuries this season. The club and my client decided that this was best." At that time, Dubinsky was returning from a broken orbital bone in a fight during a game against the Edmonton Oilers, that had sidelined him since Dec. 12.
On Tuesday night, Jackets head coach John Tortorella chose to make Dubinsky a healthy scratch for the first time of his career, and that against his former club, the New York Rangers. Dubinsky only got 13 minutes of ice time Monday against the Bruins, but did not manage to record a point. He has now been without a point in 17 games, his last coming Feb. 13 against the New York Islanders. Quite the change for the man who was once an offensive threat...
“Brandon Dubinsky is a really good player and you know how I feel about him,” Tortorella said to The Athletic prior to Tuesday’s game. “He’s been given plenty of opportunities to try to find himself. I thought he really struggled last night (in Boston) and I have other guys who are champing on the bit to get in here.”
“It’s been a struggle for him,” Tortorella added. “As we talked about after the deadline as a team and I’ve been very honest with you guys about it — here is our depth chart. Here is where everyone stands right now. Then, we have a healthy competition."
The healthy scratch of Dubinsky is hard to swallow around the league before you are sitting a guy who’s signed through 2020 at $5.85 million per year. That's a whole lot of money sitting in the press box...
But it makes sense. The 31-year-old forward is currently in the the worst season of his 12-year career, one in which he was stripped of his role as alternate captain in late October and replaced him with Jack Johnson.
In 55 games, most of them he has spent on the fourth line, Dubinsky has registered five goals and 10 assists.
The Blue Jackets hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, sitting three points above the New Jersey Devils and six ahead of the Florida Panthers.