Brandon Dubinsky needs to be benched; he’s been bad plain and simple. A culture is established, as are habits good and bad, at the start of a season. Discussing Dubinsky’s performance isn’t a knee jerk reaction to one grim team performance (in Edmonton) but this ugly, sloppy start to the year has brought about a message that needs to be given to a player that has had an awful start to his season.
I said before the season started that if the Rangers were at .500 after their long, hard start to the year when they got back to New York, then it would be a solid start. However the Rangers are sitting on their 2-2-2 record almost purely because of their all-world goaltender and a few select individual performances. There is almost no consistency, discipline or consistent work ethic. No one encapsulates all that more than Brandon Dubinsky. I called for a benching a few days ago and Brandon Prust got the treatment for a period, and rightly so. Prust reacted in a positive, productive manner.
Dubinsky is much more important than Prust in the grand scheme of things. He’s meant to be an offensive leader, he is a physical presence and as a home grown Ranger he is an example to a large part of the young squad. Dubinsky is an emotional guy; maybe it’s time Tortorella lit a fire under Dubinsky and got him going. Make no mistake, Dubinsky isn’t the only player that warrants the dog house treatment – unfortunately there are several deserving candidates but an example needs to be made out of an important player. Is Dubinsky an important player? Absolutely and his new deal and elevated status is causing his goalless start to be discussed around the league.
Back to the beginning of this post; back to culture and habits. The Rangers need to right some of the wrongs while they still can. They need to make sure players are held accountable and the players need to know that only consistent work ethic, energy and application will suffice. The Rangers have a ton of young ability but it’s not all the type of ability that can simply ‘skill’ their way to victories. Without the Rangers work rate, desire and hunger night-in-night-out this team can’t succeed. It starts with the likes of Dubinsky.