Benching Mr. Dubinsky

October 24, 2011, by

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.


  1. mhurley says:


    If you really want to split hairs, the person who really needs to be benched, who has been just about invisible, who has taken some stupid penalties, is Callahan. Does being Captain buy him a “Get out of the Chateau Bow Wow Free’ card?

    Callahan as well as Dubinsky, Fedotenko, Richards, Gaborik, I could name more, all have handed in sub par performances so far. The only forwards who seem to be doing okay are Prust and Stepan.

    If you wan to point the finger of guilt, look no further then behind the bench. I would bench Torts for not letting lines play together for at least a period.

    There’s plenty of fault to go around. You can single out one player within a game and sit him for a period. But to scratch anyone at this time is insulting, hurtful and counterproductive.

    Wait. That’s Torts’ MO.

    • Chris says:

      I dont know what Rangers team you have been watching. Gaborik may not have been perfect but he’s moving, he’s active, he’s getting pucks to the net, he’s scoring goals and he’s involved. He is FAR from the issue here.

      Callahan has been poor too but yes, you don’t bench a newly installed captain a month into his reign. It’s handling chemistry carefully; you don’t elevate a guy and then chop him down immediately – that’s how you undermine team dynamics.

    • ArtyFan says:

      Totally agree with Chris, Gabby is the best forward so far scoring and flying on the ice and he added more in this season his physical game. Did you watch any game in this season?

  2. Matt J says:

    Dubinsky has been better than Callahan. But what kind of message to the team would it send if Callahan was benched? Its really time for our captain to step up here and rally the troops. This is callahans first real test as captain.

  3. Mikeyyyy says:

    Bench the coach.

    Dismal power play, team is not responding to him anymore.

    System is falling apart with each game. I don’t even know if you can call it a system anymore.

    We have been playing the “system” for 3 seasons. With the same results.

    The definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

    • Chris says:

      I want to know what Sullivan is doing in all of this? I thought he had a lot of influence on special teams? benching (I assume you mean sack) the coach is not the answer at all however – far too much of a knee jerk reaction. How many coaches have been sacked after a 2-2-2 road trip?

      A lot of issues on this team that need addressing (hence the post) but massive overreactions isn’t addressing them.

      The system is not the issue either; this team has been getting younger for two years – there will be up and downs but you can still hold players accountable. You teach them the right way to do things early. Dubi, Cally, plenty of players, need to take note.

      • Mikeyyyy says:

        I’m not talking about the youth. I’m talking about the strategy.

        Dmen kicking it up to wingers at the blue line who dump it ain’t gonna cut it. You need a bit of finesse to gain the zone and keep control of the puck. And our guys are not doing it. If the torts system is to dump and chase then never get players in front of the net then it’s working.

        • Chris says:

          but infusing a line up with a lot of youth means inconsistency; it affects the strategy being carried out.

        • The Suit says:

          Just about every team in the NHL dumps and chase at one point or another.

          The system isn’t the problem, the players just haven’t executed all that well and I think it mostly has to do with their crazy travel and the fact that their two most reliable defensemen are out. The fact that they’re 2-2-2 is a blessing.

          • Mikeyyyy says:

            Can they execute the system?

            No use in having one if no ne can do it.

            Watching these past games us like watching the canes play their inaugural season. Lots of running around. Lots of dump and chase. And then hope irbe would stand on his head and save the day

            • The Suit says:

              I feel your frustration bro, but tactics aren’t what’s hurting us. Dubi’s brainfarts isn’t a system issue. Staal and Sauer being out isn’t a systems issue. The fact that this team has yet to play a home game and have played games 8 time zones apart to start the season isn’t a systems issue.

              They need their best defensmen on the ice and their secondary scorers to get going. And it will happen. Have patience.

  4. Mike says:

    It’s time to get rid of Tortorella. The guy is pathetic loser and horrible coach who found himself in a good position by having Fedotenko and Richards who know ”the system” that’s complete crap. ”The system” that sent Avery to the minors because Tortorella didn’t like the guy since he came back from Dallas, ”the system” that shifts lines and positions 20 times per game, so players can’t adjust how to play with different linemates, ”the system” that allows talking trash about injured Wolski, finally and very scary ”the system” that ultimately will gutter this good Rangers team in need to trade for elite defenseman.
    Rangers is a good team. I agree that some issues have to be fixed and some holes have to be filled, but they play poorly because nobody wants to play for this Dictator anymore. He will lose this team eventually, but it will be much better if this team lost him before it’s too late

  5. Walt says:

    Maybe Dubi should sit a game, nothing like being put down in front of your team mates, that would wake him up if he has any pride..

    Let’s get real folks, this team really doesn’t have much deapth with scoreing, and Tort’s doesn’t give these kids any time to develope chemistry. Could it be that Dubi is thinking that he should be on the top line, instead of the Stepan kid??

    Plesae answer, how can Filthadelphia get rid of Carter, and Richards, and still get scorers, and we can’t do squat? Holgram is a GM, I still am not a Sather fan!!!!!!

  6. The Wrage says:

    Is Chris the voice of reason? I think he’s on to something. Maybe not for a whole game, but the second Dubi takes another asinine penalty, he sits at the end of the bench to think about it.

  7. AD says:

    I do think some strong messages need to be sent to Dubinsky in particular.

    After the Oilers game, for the first time I had the thought that the players have become “too comfortable” and “secure” in being with this organization. Management has made it very clear they are committed to this core and maybe some guys have taken that security too far and lost some edge to their game. A bit of personnel controversy or a player that keeps everyone on edge seems to be in hand, possibly. I am confident we will turn thing around without needing major changes but there should be no sense of entitlement on this team.

    • The Suit says:

      Well said…

    • ArtyFan says:

      AD, I couldn’t say better. Dubi’s been with us a 5th season. Every year he shows inconsistency. This year not ecseption and I think as rest of his contract years here. I prefer trade him while he has value, after this year the value will be equal to DZ value. Cally is different story and he will be OK.

  8. tmd39 says:

    When exactly did Dubi become the designated whipping boy amongst Rangers’ fans? I just don’t get it. He’s got 3 pts. (2 more than the object of many man-crushes around here, Ryan Callahan) and he’s a +2. But he needs to sit?

    The real problem is Torts and his inability to allow lines to jell.

    • Artyfan says:

      tmd39, I never was his fan. If you look at statistics is one thing. I just look at his game and it’s awful

  9. The Suit says:

    So benching players is OK, but changing the lines around to accompany these benchings is baaaddd.

    Right that makes sense – um no.

  10. bob says:

    Alot of drastic opinions today,A little less ice time for the cally line should suffice to give them a wake up.I like Feds but on a fourth line checking line,give Boyle and Prust and insert scorer second line mins.The players have to earn their ice time,benching them completely does not allow them to play with the emotion of riding the bench a few shifts.

  11. Section 121 says:

    I guess the other nine “NHL Stars” should be benched too?

    Jagr, Sullivan, Booth, Koviu, Getzlaf, etc.?

    Dubinsky just needs to shoot more and he’ll find the twine. Give him 23 shots like Callahan and I’m sure he’ll have at least one, maybe two or three goals? I’m more worried about Cally receiving 2 more minutes of ice time per game with first line PP duties and virtually nothing to show for it.

  12. Jess Rubenstein (@TheProspectpark) says:

    Your own words here actually do more harm here than good. You say that you can not bench Callahan because he is the captain and it would harm chemistry.

    By not being willing to apply the same standards to the entire team you have in fact harmed chemistry. As team captain you have a right to expect him to set the standard for the team by his play.

    If he is playing bad then he too must be subjected to the same standards you are suggesting are grounds to bench Dubi.

    Otherwise the players will correctly see that a double standard has been applied here.

    Sorry but if you want to bench Dubi for poor play then all players must be held to the same level of accountability

    • The Suit says:

      Good point.

    • Dave says:

      My own two cents: I think Dubi should get a benching because of his stupid penalties, even if it’s just for a period. Yes, his play has been bad (as has Cally’s), but it’s the penalties that are getting to me.

      So by that standard, benching Dubi and not Cally makes sense. If you use level of play, then you have to bench both.

    • bob says:

      Couldn’t agree more.They have to earn their ice time.I would keep dropping down a line,and if the effort don’t come,I would call up a young guy and pop him in his place.It goes for everybody on the team.

    • mhurley says:

      Thank you, Jess!