Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella has never been one to shy away from doing and saying exactly what he feels like doing and saying and early in the season he has made a controversial decision involving one of his most experienced veterans.
Tortorella stripped the "A" from the jersey of Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky and instead opted to give it to defenseman Jack Johnson. As is to be expected among hyper-competitive professional athletes, Dubinsky was not a fan of the decision.
“I'm human; obviously, it hurts a little bit to have that role taken away,” Dubinsky said as per The Athletic's Aaron Portzline.. “For me to say I don't really care would be a complete lie, and you guys know me better than that."
Tortorella however tried to spin it as a positive for the veteran Blue Jacket, suggesting that it would allow him to focus on his individual game, something Tortorella feels needs improvement.
“Dubi and I have had a very frank conversation about that,” Tortorella said. “That's one thing him and I can have. We've gone through a lot together, good and bad. I think it's for the good of him."
While he isn't happy the 31-year-old center remains a consummate professional and while he admits that he was angered by the decision, he intends to continue to do the best he can for his team.
"So, yeah, I was pissed off. But you're not always going to be happy. I have to move forward, look after myself, help this team get better and win hockey games.”
Tortorella and Dubinsky have had public spats in the past, it will be worth monitoring if anything more comes of this decision.