Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella handed Pierre-Luc Dubois a 3-2 overtime loss Thursday and the disgruntled star never saw the ice after the first period.
DuBois left the bench 4:36 behind first after committing a turnover that was criticized by local TV station Jackets.
I really don’t make decisions in a few minutes. I need a player to show me that. You’ll do well if you do well. The responsibility lies with the players, Tortorella said after the game, refusing to go into detail on the bench. And that goes for all players, not just the one who sat down. I’m not that hard to read.
Dubois, 22, signed a two-year, $10 million contract for training camp while looking for a deal with Columbus.
While the player and his general manager Jarmo Kekalainen danced around the issue in training camp, Tortorella confirmed in a recent interview with 97.1 The Fan that Dubois wants to be on the field.
He gave no reason why he wanted to leave. He must stand before them. I think you have to mind your own business and be a better team than you can be, the coach said.
DuBois led last season with 49 points in 70 games before excelling in the playoffs with 10 points in 10 games. DuBois, who was selected No. 3 in 2016, scored 159 points in 238 career games.
This week marks the second time Tortorella DuBois has been on the bench, as he was on the ice for much of the second period of Monday’s game against Detroit. Tortorella dismissed the idea of sidelining Dubois in this game, saying you know it when I’m on the bench.
I told you so, Tortorella said after shutting down DuBois on Thursday.
Pierre-Luc Dubois led the Blue Jackets with 49 points in 70 games last season. Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
DuBois is the last Columbus player to leave the franchise. Stars Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky will leave the Jackets as free agents in 2019 after previously announcing their intentions to their teammates.
Both Tortorella and team captain Nick Foligno said it wasn’t the first time the team had to deal with a player in the locker room wanting to leave.
My priority is the team. Luke is one of them, and we’ve been having these conversations in private. I can’t worry about who’s not (playing) and who’s not playing. It’s the coach’s call. My job is just to play with the guys that are here, Foligno said.
Tortorella denied that DuBois is under additional scrutiny this season.
I coached Luke like this for a few years, trying to get him to develop the game a little bit and become a pro. Nothing changes here. There’s more spotlight, and I understand why you need to ask questions. But you’re asking the wrong person. I’m just the coach. I try to work with the hockey club and win games. The person you’re talking about, you should ask him.
According to the Blue Jackets, DuBois refused to face the media after the game, but could make an appearance after Friday’s practice.
Columbus faces Tampa Bay again on Saturday.