Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky missed Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues because he was serving a one-game suspension for a cross check he delivered to Sidney Crosby’s neck. That doesn’t mean Dubinsky is going to change the way he plays, though.
Dubinsky told The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline Sunday that when he returns to the lineup, he’s “not going to change” anything about his game. And when lining up across from Crosby, Dubinsky said he’s going to continue to play the Penguins’ superstar hard.
"Like I said before, I’m not trying to crosscheck a guy in the neck, regardless of what anybody else thinks,” Dubinsky told Portzline. “I’m going to play him hard, I’m going to play him as physical as I can, and I��m going to play as clean as I can. But I’ll make it a tough night on him.”
After the game Friday, Dubinsky admitted that he plays Crosby as hard as he can, but was always cautious not to do anything dirty. Dubinsky added he is not out there to hurt Crosby or anyone else. However, Crosby felt differently, saying if he was going to take a shot like the one he did Friday, it would “probably be” from Dubinsky.
Crosby and Dubinsky have a long history of battles, including a fight during the 2015 season:
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, who coached Dubinsky as a member of the New York Rangers, said Dubinsky’s game has changed over the years, but only for the better.
"The growth that he has shown, physically, mentally…I think he’s grown,” Tortorella told Portzline. “He’s out there. He’s a bit of a wingnut sometimes in that he just gets so wrapped up, it’s almost too much. But I think he’s learned to control himself, but also bring people along with him with his intensity.”
Before the suspension that held him out of Saturday’s game, Dubinsky had never been forced to sit out by the league. Dubinsky is known, however, for rugged play and has racked up more than 100 penalty minutes in three separate seasons. He came close to the 100-minute mark in 2013-14, when he amassed 98 penalty minutes in 76 games. That said, he has only once received supplemental discipline. In February 2013, Dubinsky was handed a $10,000 fine for boarding then-Los Angeles Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi.
Dubinsky will be back in the Blue Jackets’ lineup Tuesday against the Montreal Canadiens, and Columbus is just three weeks away from its next meeting with the Pittsburgh Penguins. If the history between Dubinsky and Crosby is any indicator, their matchup should be one to watch.