Dubois insists Tortorella wasn't the reason for trade request
Pierre-Luc Dubois hasn't revealed the exact reason why he wanted to be traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he did acknowledge that head coach John Tortorella wasn't a factor in his decision.
"Before I got drafted to Columbus, I knew what kind of coach he was, and I heard from players that played for him in the past, some when he was in Tampa. I heard from Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. The consensus I got, and this is my opinion, is he helps guys," Dubois told Sportsnet's Ron MacLean on Saturday.
"He pushes guys, he motivates guys, he gets guys going. It's hard sometimes to see it when you're 20 or it's in the moment, but all those guys all said the same thing: 'One day when you're older you'll look back at it and you'll remember that he did great things for your career.'"
"I know for some people it might be (Tortorella) that's the reason, but it's not. He was a hard coach and I can take it, nothing's personal," Dubois added. "I grew up from a dad that coached and he told me if a coach challenges you it's never personal, he just wants what's best for you, and that's how I see Torts - I have nothing but respect for him."
Dubois was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets earlier on Saturday in a blockbuster trade for Patrik Laine, Jack Roslovic, and a third-round pick. The 22-year-old made it known in late December he wanted a change of scenery.
Dubois was benched for the majority of his last game with the Blue Jackets, finishing with 3:55 minutes of ice time. Despite the tough love from Tortorella, Dubois said he understands the importance of it.
"He did good things to challenge you and to make you more mature and for you to grow up, and that's something that I know wasn't always easy, but you have to appreciate the honesty and you have to appreciate he was trying to make me a better player, trying to make me a better person," Dubois added.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was reportedly planning on being patient in finding a trade partner for Dubois, but the benching made it clear that a deal would have to come sooner than later.
It's unclear how long Dubois will need to quarantine before he can make his debut for his new club, as the Canadian government requires people to isolate for 14 days upon arriving in the country. The Jets have asked the government to reduce his quarantine period to seven days, reports Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.