Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois has requested a trade from the team, which is why interest around the league was piqued when he didn’t take a regular shift during the second period of the team’s 3-2 win over Detroit on Monday afternoon.
Coach John Tortorella denied he “benched” the 22-year-old scorer.
“You guys are really dissecting this benching and sitting. I guess I benched Max [Domi] the other night, you said. Slow down, boys. You’ll know when I bench someone. I have to make decisions when the game is being played, when I think someone is going at certain times. But don’t try to manifest something as far as the benching. That’s all part of a three-period hockey game.”
Dubois only played one shift in the last seven minutes of the second period.
“No, he didn’t say anything. It’s just stuff that happens. Other guys are playing well,” Dubois said, when asked if Tortorella had indicated anything to him about the decision.
Perhaps coincidentally, Dubois scored his first goal of the season in the third period, which was also his first point in the Jackets’ first three games.
Dubois said that despite those early struggles, the trade request is not weighing on him.
“I have one job and it’s to play hockey and help the team. I just have to go out there and try to help [the team] get two points every night. It’s a short season, so every game matters even more,” he said. “The only thing I can control is how I play. I can’t control anything else.”