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Lightning Round: John Tortorella always makes things worse

Pierre-Luc Dubois is another star his coach has thrown away.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four
April 16, 2019: Tampa Bay Lightning v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Four: Pierre-Luc Dubois celebrates a goal.

John Tortorella is famously a coach that pushes his players until he, they, or the team crumble in a fiery mess. We saw it on the Lightning, then the Rangers, then the Canucks, and now with the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is the Pierre-Luc Dubois story.

Pierre-Luc Dubois is the Blue Jackets first line center after being drafted third overall in 2016. After three seasons with the team, during his first RFA negotiations, Dubois made it privately — and then publicly — clear that he would like a trade away from the team. He signed a relatively cheap two-year contract at $5 million right before training camp, below his market value (closer to $8 million looking at comparables) which makes him a very intriguing target for other teams.

At training camp, neither Dubois or the team wanted to make this a big story because maintaining a good relationship between the player and team allows both sides to work on making the team in good faith. The team wants Dubois to play well so his points and highlights increase the bidding war from rival teams, and Dubois wants to play well so there isn’t an air of him being difficult to play for. Tampa Bay Lightning fans are well aware of this fact if you look at Jonathan Drouin and his time in Tampa Bay.

Both of these goals have failed and it’s because of John Tortorella.

How many times have we seen Tortorella blow a fuse, alienate key players, and leave his teams in a worse state than when he entered. And now how many times has Pierre-Luc Dubois done that?

By every account of his time in junior and his first few years in Columbus, Dubois was described as a lovely person and a hard worker. You can look at one shift on a Thursday night game in January all you want, but when I saw Dubois in the playoffs last year and in the regular season, I saw a motivated, dominant player. He is terrifying to play against. Something is clearly wrong with him and so much evidence points to the guy with the record of this crap.

Tortorella is hurting his team for no other reason than his own small-minded self-satisfaction. So he can go on the mic and mouth off. It doesn’t help the team in the front office and it doesn’t help the players to alienate their teammate. It is unprofessional and disrespectful, full stop.

Pierre-Luc Dubois will go somewhere else, and he’s going to be great and he’s going to have a long career. Tortorella probably will, too, because that’s what happens to NHL head coaches. There’s always a GM dumb enough to give a new car to the guy with four fiery wrecks behind him.

Lightning Links

The Lightning beat the Blue Jackets 3-2 in overtime in a close game that the Lightning technically dominated but could’ve gone either way had the Blue Jackets not have their coach shoot them in the foot. Here’s the recap. [Raw Charge]

“The Tampa Bay Lightning had to go to overtime to pick up their third win of the season, but Brayden Point’s goal with just over three minutes left in the extra session secured a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Defenseman Ryan McDonagh recorded two assists in the victory while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 22 of 24 shots.”

The Lightning also called up Spencer Martin ahead of the game to be their third goalie on the Taxi Squad.

The AHL will be announcing their regular season schedule today at noon. The Syracuse Crunch have been in training camp since Monday.

There is a big controversy going on in Washington right now (there always has to be one!). Several Washington Capitals players have been quarantined for the team’s next four games after breaking COVID-19 protocol, including starting goalie Ilya Samsonov who has been confirmed to have the virus.

This was a dirty hit from Tyler Myers on Joel Armia in yesterday’s 7-3 Montreal Canadiens win over the Vancouver Canucks. This has suspension written all over it.