Saturday, October 16, 2021

DuBois declares ‘I am back;’ Ready for a fresh start in Winnipeg

TORONTO (AP) – It’s near the end of a long day of promotional on-ice videos and one-on-one long interviews with a group of journalists, when Pierre-Luc Dubois smiled back in a grin and extended his hand to the hotel. Let’s proceed confidently into the conference room.

Whatever disappointments and disappointments the Jets could carry ahead from what was essentially a lost season in Winnipeg last year has been replaced by a time perspective.

Jets were traded by Columbus In January, Dubois is still not happy with how poorly he performed during his first season in Winnipeg. However, the 23-year-old seems to have a better understanding of how and why things quickly derailed, which makes him look forward to the opening of the Jets’ training camp this week.

“This year we move on,” DuBois said during the NHL/NHLPA’s annual Precision Players Media Tour. “To say that I am excited would be an understatement.”

The new season offers Dubois the opportunity to start on a team and in a city he only got to know on a peripheral basis – and still can’t tell you where the Jets practice facility is because the team was confined to working its domestic. Field.

The combination of the NHL’s COVID-19 restrictions, cross-border self-isolation rules and a string of injuries essentially made him a stranger in a new land.

Whether he’s limited to playing solitaire in his hotel room, face-timing with family and friends, and seeing his teammates during practice, game days, or travel, Dubois has never been more of his extroverted self. Didn’t feel like

“It’s weird, like all these questions here today are, ‘Which teammates do that? I honestly don’t know,'” Dubois said.

“For me there’s nothing like bonding, going to dinner, all the people together, you know, drinking a beer or two, talking. And we didn’t have last year,” he said. “So that’s another reason That makes me feel like I’m new. I feel like people don’t really know who I am, and I feel like I don’t really know people.

Chosen third overall by Columbus in the 2016 draft, Dubois is focused on reinventing himself as the impact player the Jets were counting on getting in the form of a blockbuster trade that led to Patrick Line ( The second overall pick in 2016) was sent to Columbus.

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At 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, Dubois scored 65 goals and 158 points in 234 games through his first three seasons with the Blue Jackets before being asked to be traded after their relationship soured. With then-Columbus coach John Tortorella.

Already feeling behind after losing time while working out as his gym and rink in Quebec were closed due to the pandemic, Dubois spent his first two weeks in Winnipeg under mandatory self-isolation. A few weeks after his debut, he was sidelined due to a lower body injury.

He finished the regular season with eight goals and 20 points in 41 games. The injury struck again after the start of the playoffs, he had three assists in seven games before the Jets were swept away in the second round by Montreal.

With gyms and rinks open in Quebec, Dubois uses the offseason as a time to “reset” by devoting her summer to working out.

Jets coach Paul Morris is buoyed by reports from the team’s strength and conditioning coach that Dubois is in top shape. Maurice is even more impressed by hearing the self-awareness Dubois has shown openly in the face of being wronged last season.

“There were a lot of things that worked against him,” Maurice said.

“Sometimes a young player, a talented player, achieves success very quickly and he never feels he has to grow anymore and it stunts him,” he said. “I have a lot of faith in this young man.”

Dubois is already looking forward to the Jets opening their season in Anaheim next month.

Hoping for the NHL’s COVID-19 restrictions to be eased, he is already envisioning holding an after-dinner team bonding session by playing volleyball on the beach.

He is starting to feel like himself again.

“I feel like the normal Pierre-Luc Dubois, not the kind of guy who’s worried about getting back in shape, worried about getting fit,” he said.

“A lot of things I’ve never experienced in my life all happened at the same time. So now, this year, to go camping and be like, ‘Okay, I know what to expect,'” Dubois said. “This is the real me. The real Pierre-Luc DuBois is back.”

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More AP NHL: hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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