Brandon Dubinsky has gone from fan-favorite to target of criticism during his one goal in 30 games stretch to open the 2011-12 campaign, and rightfully so. Dubinsky, though, hasn’t been as bad as people make him out to be. He’s still a very strong playmaker and fantastic penalty killer, one that head coach John Tortorella thinks is making strides in getting out of this season-long funk.
“I think so,” Tortorella said when asked if Dubinsky was making progress. “We’ve had conversation, many of them and it’s not about looking back, it’s about looking ahead. We’re just past the quarter mark, there’s so much more hockey to be played.”
Although the team’s stars have been shining with the resurgence of Marian Gaborik and the clutch-play of newly acquired Brad Richards, a lot of the success falls on a supporting cast who hasn’t stepped up thus far, including Brian Boyle, Ruslan Fedotenko and Dubinsky, who have combined for just seven goals in a combined 90 games played this season.
“When he gets to where he needs to be, he’s going to be a big influence with us staying consistent with that,” Tortorella said. “He’s looking ahead and I think that’s a sign of maturity for Dubi, too. I used to kick him when he got too high, but he’d also get down too low, too.”
Dubinsky has acknowledged his poor start, but has stayed positive. “It’s been a struggle for me, obviously,” he said. “I’ve been pretty conscientious about how I’ve been playing and trying to learn from the mistakes I make and build on the good things I do…but things in life aren’t always perfect.”
The 25-year-old who signed a four-year, $16.8 million deal said he has to continue working and eventually his fortunes will change. “I’m at my best when my legs are moving and I’m carrying the puck and hanging onto the puck,” he said. “Those are the things I’m really focused on.”
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