Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Tortorella has no regrets about how he handled Pierre-Luc Dubois

Liam McHugh, Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp discuss Pierre-Luc Dubois and if there are any concerns that the Columbus fallout will carry over to Winnipeg, as well as how he can do serious damage with his new team.

John Tortorella doesn’t believe in change. You’re not going to change the way he coaches and if you want out of town, he won’t stand in your way.

Speaking to Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson Wednesday night, the Blue Jackets head coach talked about coaching Pierre-Luc Dubois and his excitement for Patrik Laine’s arrival.

“I don’t believe in trying to change someone’s mind,” he said. “My relationship with Luc is just like anybody else’s on this team. My job is, I’m going to push you. I’m going to hold you accountable. There is a certain standard that we want here, and that we all live by. If someone doesn’t want to be here, and that’s a hard thing for me to stomach, well, my back gets up a little bit.”

Tortorella pushed Dubois in order to get the very best out of his young center. He said he coached Dubois like every other player in Columbus, and Laine should expect similar treatment. That style led to butting of heads, but you shouldn’t wait for the head coach to apologize for taking that route.

“I don’t have regrets,” Tortorella said. “Did Luc and I have conflict? G------ we’ve had conflict. People say, ‘Well what’s going on there?’ Conflict is a good thing. I just think if you’re honest with a player, and you’re trying to find where we’re supposed to go together, coach and player, and then as a team.”

Mystery behind Dubois’ request

After signing a two-year, $10M extension on New Year’s Eve, news came out that the 22-year-old Dubois had requested a trade out of Columbus. Nearly a month later, his reasons for wanting out remain unknown. Even Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is in the dark and doesn’t know why. It certainly had nothing to do with any contract talks.

“There was nothing about these negotiations and I wish that Pierre-Luc would tell the truth about why he wanted out,” Kekalainen told TSN 1050 this week. “He hasn’t even told me; he hasn’t told his teammates or anybody else. It certainly wasn’t about contract negotiations, I can assure you of that.”

Laine, meanwhile, remains in Canada waiting on his U.S. work visa and will have to go through a 48-hour quarantine once he arrives in Columbus.

Replacing Dubois won’t be easy, but adding Laine down the wing is something that has Tortorella excited. The Finnish winger has 140 goals in 306 NHL games and is someone the Blue Jackets are eager to have make an immediate impact.

“When I’ve watched him from afar he’s so dangerous coming down that left side,” Tortorella said. “We’ve got to figure that out. I’ll admit it, I have probably five or six lineups on my pad of paper right now, but who knows what our health of our team is going to be when he does get here. So we’re going to see what happens and see what we look like at that point in time.”


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.