Pierre-Luc Dubois does not say a word, but we know the problem that is eating away at him. He has a virus called John Tortorella. He is not the first player to be struck down by this infection and one can imagine that there will be more as long as Tortorella is a coach. Let’s step back in time.
Vincent Lecavalier had a problem with Tortorella when he played with the Tampa Bay Lightning. One day, the managing director at the time, Jay Feaster, had gathered the two men in his office to indicate to them that he had no intention of parting with one or the other.
His message was clear. He had said to them, “Arrange to get along. “
A year or two later, Lecavalier and Tortorella had drunk champagne together in the Stanley Cup.
All these players gone
You’d think the Columbus Blue Jackets would be serious contenders for top honors if they hadn’t seen so many great players out of their company two years ago.
In the summer of 2019, Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene used their free agent status to set sail. Bobrovsky was tired of the strain Tortorella was causing in the locker room.
Dubois is there.
Without a contract at the end of last season, he could have stayed at home to encourage general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to trade him. He did not choose this avenue. He wanted to play and Kekalainen gave him a two-year contract with an annual salary of five million.
It’s not nothing.
But the problem persists.
How to burn your DG
I wonder how Kekalainen reacted the other day when he heard Tortorella say on the radio that Dubois wanted to be traded. He would have liked to burn his DG which he could not have found better.
The rule is that a player who asks to leave should be relaxed while waiting for a transaction. In the case of Dubois, it was his coach who sold the wick.
Monday in Detroit, Dubois only made a 36-second presence in the final seven minutes of the second period. But it was he who scored in the third period what proved to be the winning goal in his first victory of the season.
After the game, Tortorella had the nerve to say he didn’t warm up the bench and reporters were spending too much time analyzing players’ playing time.
Bigger than the club
Tortorella reminds me of Billy Martin, the former manager of the New York Yankees. Martin was bigger than the Yankees. However, if a player cannot be bigger than his team, it is even more true for a coach.
Tortorella is constantly at the forefront. It’s like he’s the star of his team. He’s not a bad guy. But he likes to play in the minds of players and journalists.
There are exceptions, of course. Martin St-Louis will say all his life that he loved playing for Tortorella. The two were made to go together. St-Louis was driving at the only speed Tortorella knows, which is to say the pedal fully.
An obvious choice
Tortorella’s skills are not in doubt. He transformed the Blue Jackets when he arrived in Columbus, but things turned sour.
Kekalainen no longer has a choice. He has to get rid of him if he wants to stop the damage. He made the right choice when he drafted Dubois in third place in the 2016 draft. He was expected to want to select Jesse Puljujarvi, a young compatriot from Finland, but he preferred Dubois.
The Quebecer is the best player of his training.
Also, since when do we trade a 22-year-old center player, 6-3 inches and nearly 220 pounds, a lively player of great talent who skates at high speed?
If Kekalainen goes there with reason, he will keep Dubois and fire Tortorella, who has only the current season left in his contract anyway.
This is the logical solution.
Dubois: not the time
And now, THE question: should Marc Bergevin try everything to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois? In his role as general manager of the Canadian, Bergevin must test the waters with his counterpart Jarmo Kekalainen, and one can think that it is done.
What do I think about it?
Now is not the time.
First, the season has only just begun. Second, the Canadian looks good. Yes, Claude Julien’s troop will encounter pitfalls along the way, but we are not talking about last season’s team.
An English expression says that one should not mend something that is not broken. Bergevin made the necessary repairs before the season. The machine runs well. It is now up to Claude Julien to make the adjustments.
Going to find Dubois does not seem like the right thing to do, always thinking of the present. Bergevin should free up money on his payroll. He would also risk taking his pants off to get Dubois.
Kekalainen will want to get more than a center in return for Dubois. Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi still have a long way to go. Phillip Danault is worth his weight in gold, but again, Bergevin should put other names on the table.
Taking for granted that his center line would remain strong with Dubois in the ranks, would the CEO of the Habs have the resources to replace the other players who would leave?
Which amounts to saying that he should not touch anything for the moment, even if Dubois represents a beautiful jewel in the window.
Quebec is practically blue-white-red across the province with the affiliation between the new ECHL team in Trois-Rivières and the Canadian.
But the good people of Quebec also support dress formations whose predominant color is red. These are the Rouge et Or of Laval University and the Remparts, known as the Red devils, with their beautiful red sweaters.
What I don’t understand is that Quebec is supposedly blue …