Brandon Dubinsky press conference transcript

Friday, 07.11.2014 / 3:30 PM / News
By BlueJackets.com Staff
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Brandon Dubinsky press conference transcript
Jarmo Kekalainen and Brandon Dubinsky spoke to the media after announcing Dubinsky\'s six-year contract extension.

Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen

Opening statement

We’re very happy, obviously. Big commitment from the organization, starting from the ownership and the President of Hockey Operations John Davidson. This is a great example of the type of commitment that they have for winning. This is a well-earned contract for a player who has been in this league for many years and has played on a high level for many of those years. He’s a leader on our team and a guy that plays at his best when it comes the most, as we all saw in the playoffs. We’re very happy to have Brandon Dubinsky sign for a six-year extension.

On whether or not Dubinsky’s playoff performance led to extension…

He was a player, throughout the year, that we had considered, going into the last year of his conteact and before heading into UFA, that we would want to extend him. He was a player that we recognized as one of our core players and leadesr on our team, even before that. But obviously, when you see a performance like he had in the playoffs, where night after night, he was one of the best players on the ice against an elite team in this league. He was able to eliminate the production of Sidney Crosby and play well offensively and defensively, both sides of the puck in that series. That had something to do with it too, but it wasn’t just the playoff series. We evaluate every game as we do, we evaluate everything every day. He’s a big part of our future.

On the potential of Dubinsky being named captain…

We had the over/under at two questions about that. We’ll have a separate press conference whenever we name a captain. We did well the year before when we didn’t have one. We did well the year before without one. I’ve said it to the players and I’ve said it to everyone: once we named the captain, it’s going to obvious who it is. Somebody is going to rise from the team and everybody is going to look at him and say that’s the obvious choice and that’s the day we’re going to name the captain.

On Dubinsky’s intangibles…

They all play into our decision-making, but I’d still have to say 95 percent of it is still on the ice, that’s where the best leadership starts; from how you play. I think that’s where Brandon is the best example on our team with his performance on the ice. That’s the best way he leads our team is the way he leads on the ice. That’s important and that’s what we want from our leadership group, our core players that, first and foremost, they lead on the ice with their performance and after that, it’s easier to do other stuff off of the ice.

On what he has learned about Dubinsky…

I have watched him since he was in Portland with the Winterhawks, so I’ve seen quite a bit. He has come a long way, obviously. The drive and determination are the biggest attributes that I see in his game. The passion for the game and competitiveness and the battle level that he brings when the game is elevating in intensity, that’s the playoff games. That’s the type of identity we want in a team. He’s a Blue Jacket, he plays like we want every Blue Jacket to play. Everybody sees the skill set. He has lots of skills and he can play in different situations, whether it’s power play or short-handed situations and he’s strong on the puck. I can analyze all of his hockey skills, but I think the character and how he plays the game, with the intensity level and battle level, those are the biggest things that I’ve seen up close that I may not have seen from a distance.

On the remainder of his off-season “to-do” list…

It never really ends. There’s always something new that comes up, but that’s the way it should be. We’re always looking for ways to improve and every day is an opportunity to do something to improve, so that’s the way we look at it. We’ll keep doing it day-by-day.

Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky

On Dubinsky’s opinion of the team now as compared to two years ago…

When I first got traded here, I just tried to come in with an open mind. We had made some other moves that I thought made this team better. I thought the year before I got here, after some of the moves that were made, Arty and I, Foligno, Bobrovsky, I firmly believed that our team was better than how they had performed the year prior. I didn’t come in here thinking, oh, I’m coming to the worst team in the league, I came in here with an open mind and a good attitude and I found out that we had a great group of guys that was willing to play hard for each other. We started building the day I got here, all the way up to where we are now.

On the importance of his no-move clause in contract…

I have a young family. I have a baby and I’m sure my wife and I will try to have at least one more. It’s nice to get that stability and live here. I’ve been in a condo for nine years, so it will be a nice opportunity to find a house and settle down somewhere for a while and not have to worry about anything besides focusing on my family and focusing on coming to the rink and helping this team win.

On being a driving force of the team…

Obviously, it’s a huge honor to be given that type of role with a team. As you said, it’s not just me. Jarmo touched on it as far as leadership by committee. Everybody is so anxious to have a captain, but there are a lot of guys in there that lead. Everybody kind of leads in their own way, but collectively as a group, we play hard for each other. We find a way to get it done. We enjoy coming to the rink every day. It’s a big honor to be in this position and have this role with this team. There’s a lot of guys on the team, so it’s much bigger than just myself.

On thinking of Columbus as a hockey town after the playoffs…

I have enjoyed my time since I’ve been here. Columbus has been great to me, the fans have been great. The city is great. I enjoy other aspects away from the rink about Columbus, whether it is the golf here in the summertime, or the restaurants, the simplicity of life here. Those all played a factor. The biggest factor was obviously the hockey. Through my conversation with Jarmo and JD and even (Todd Richards), it’s the commitment to winning. They’ve said it before: they want to win here. I want to win. I think that our interests were aligned and that’s why we got this done. Jarmo said that I could have had the opportunity to play this year and go to UFA, but I felt like our team is heading in the right direction on all levels. With the veterans, with the young guys that are already on the roster, with the prospects in the organization, just the direction this team is heading. I think we’re heading in a great direction and I’m really happy and really excited to be a part of it.

On other roster moves that enticed Dubinsky to stay in Columbus…

I think between Jarmo, JD and the entire hockey ops department, what I’ve and what I’ve heard through talking to my agent or other people in the hockey world, you can see it too. By all accounts, they know what they’re doing. The young guys are coming in, you can see it with Boone, with Ryan Murray. They’re making some great moves and helping our team not only be younger, but be better too. I’m excited for that.

On leading younger players…

It’s a process. I still have a lot of learning to do. The on-ice (leadership) is the easy part; I think the off-ice part, you have to continue to work on. You have to know when to do or say the right things. How to challenge guys properly or how to pick guys up when they’re down, things like that. The on-ice: I’m just a competitive person. As Jarmo said, I try to go out there every night and play the same way and play to win. The on-ice is the easy part.

On role models when it comes to leadership…

I’ve been pretty lucky. I’ve played with a couple of hall-of-famers, a couple of almost hall-of-famers. When I first came into the league, the first couple of years was like an all-star team. Whether it was Jaromir Jagr’s work ethic. You kind of gather from him when it’s the end of the season and you’re about to go into the playoffs, he pulls you aside and as a 21-year-old, he says that we’re going to start riding the bike harder after practice. I kind of look at him and say, well, we’ve gone through a whole season already. He say that this way, when we make it to game six or game seven, we’re going to be better. Whether it’s a guy like that or a guy like Chris Drury who didn’t say a lot, but when he did say something, it meant something and everyone listened up. I played with Markus NÓ“slund, a natural, unbelievable leader who taught me a lot, even though I only played with him for one season because he retired for a second. I have been fortunate to play with a lot of guys. Just grabbing bits and pieces from each guy along the way has helped me out.

On team’s enthusiasm level for the season…

We believe that we have a great group of guys, we believe that we have a great team. We have high expectations for ourselves. We showed that we could get into the playoffs and the expectation for ourselves is not just getting to the playoffs, but taking the next step and making a run in the playoffs. With the personnel that we have, the young guys getting a little bit older and becoming more mature,I think we can take that next step. We grabbed a guy in Scott Hartnell who has been in those situations and been in the battle, he’s going to make our team better. I think everybody is excited and everybody is anxious. I think most of us wish the season would start here next week.

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