Brandon Dubinsky Looks to Bring Grit, Passion to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Photo courtesy of NHL.com
By Tim Lucarelli (@tlucarelli)
At the NHL trade deadline in February, Brandon Dubinsky was well aware that his name was being floated in the rumor mill. Hearing the possibility of being traded is something that each player reacts to differently, and Brandon tried his best to keep business as usual. At the time, he had this to say:
“It happens every year. Maybe with the exception of last year, I feel like I’ve been a topic of trade rumors quite often. Is it hard? No, I don’t think so. Would it be hard if it happened? Of course. I love this organization. I’ve been here for a long time and put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this team, so that would be tough.”
“I don’t look at it; I don’t focus on it. They are what they are, rumors. Until the day [general manager Glen Sather] tells me I’m going somewhere, I’m going to continue to come in here and enjoy every day as a New York Ranger and continue to try to help this team win games.”
“If I get traded for Rick Nash…he’s a great player. What can I do?”
Dubinsky is a passionate hockey player who comes as advertised. What you see is what you get, and it appears he is quite happy to put the ordeal behind him and begin his career with the Columbus Blue Jackets. On July 23, just two days after being traded, Dubinsky tweeted, “On my way to Columbus today to see what it’s all about! Excited to see my new home! #CBJ.” Shortly thereafter he added, “Had an awesome day in Columbus today! Great city and great people! Back in NYC for prior commitments, but will head back soon #CBJ Night!”
What a contrast from Columbus’ prized acquisition a year ago, Jeff Carter. Patrick Drottar described Carter’s situation best, writing, “Immediately after the trade, Carter had no desire to talk to the media about the trade for several days, until Jackets’ general manager Scott Howson and captain Rick Nash went to New Jersey to talk with him.”
Months later, leading up to the Carter trade to the Kings, Matt Wagner added, “Independent sources have confirmed that there have been inquiries about a Carter trade, but they cooled to the notion of a trade when his unhappiness/attitude with Columbus were confirmed to the interested teams. While this doesn’t preclude a trade from happening, there is absolutely no way for Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson to come close to getting in return for Carter, what Philadelphia got when they traded Carter away.”
Dubinsky and Carter shared one similarity before joining Columbus in that both had spent their career with only one organization, making this their first trade and their first time dealing with the pressure of moving, picking up the pieces, and taking that next step forward.
The difference is that Dubinsky is quickly showing that he is thrilled to be part of the Columbus organization, and committed to giving everything he possibly can to help this team succeed.
“I’m excited to be here and to be a Blue Jacket,” Dubinsky said, “I’ve had an opportunity to talk with some of the guys here, and they all love Columbus. The best part about it right now is the youth we have, and the enthusiasm we have – not to mention the skill level that I think this team has. It’s underrated, and I think we’re going to have a good season.”
“I’m not going to make any statistical promises. One thing I will promise is that you’ll get the effort, the energy every night from me. I think I bring a lot of passion to the game, and I’ll help this team in a lot of areas.”
Despite having a deep talent base in their prospect pool, mediocrity has seemed to become an accepted way of life in Columbus. From Nikolai Zherdev to Gilbert Brule to Nikita Filatov, somehow success has failed to materialize. Bringing in a fresh set of eyes, Vinny Prospal immediately questioned the team’s hunger and work ethic. In Aaron Portzline’s 61 thoughts after Nash’s departure, he described Nash as “a quiet, even-keeled and respectful guy, the type parents want their kids to admire and mimic.” That is a great attribute for a person and player, but it can be troublesome when that is the personality of your leader. In Portzline’s 36th thought, he describes a dirty hit by Rob Skuderi on Jackets’ winger Jason Chimera (which he also says is outside the norm for Skuderi). Instead of sticking up for his teammate, Nash simply “put his glove-covered hand on Scuderi’s shoulder,” which is something the entire Blue Jackets team noticed.
Nash is certainly a phenomenal athlete who did everything he could for the Columbus Blue Jackets, but his mild-mannered approach to situations like this may have trickled down the organizational chart. While it would be ludicrous to insinuate that Nash condoned a losing atmosphere, his actions may have unintentionally prevented a winning atmosphere.
Dubinsky is much the opposite. He is a firecracker who wears his heart on his sleeve, gives full effort, and brings passion to every shift, which will go a long way toward growing his popularity in the city of Columbus. Rob Mixer compared Dubinsky’s situation to R.J. Umberger’s when he joined the Blue Jackets. Umberger’s hard work and dedication paid off, and he has risen to become one of Columbus’ most prized players. Howson commented, “R.J. is so committed. When I think of him, that’s what I think of – commitment, to his profession and his team.”
That same type of commitment is clearly evident in Brandon Dubinsky, and his added grit and passion could play a huge part in Columbus turning the corner and reaching their potential as a successful franchise.