On Thursday night Brandon Dubinsky nearly cost his team dearly by taking an unsportsmanlike penalty in the dying embers of the first period in the Rangers 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. This led to Dubinsky being benched for the rest of the game against the Hurricanes.
However on Friday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, after some impressive work on the fourth line, Dubinsky was promoted to the first line and scored the tying goal with 3:27 left in the game. The Rangers went on to lose the game 4-3 in overtime; however Dubinsky’s goal earned the Rangers a valuable point in the standings, with only nineteen games to go.
Brandon Dubinsky last year was the top point scorer for the New York Rangers and was one of the reasons the Rangers were able to climb into the eighth seed after a year out of the playoff picture. Dubinsky led the Rangers in points (54) and in goals (24) last season.
Once Chris Drury had been bought out, thus vacating the Rangers captaincy role, Dubinsky was tipped to take over as captain. This rumour gathered even more pace when the Rangers re-signed Dubinsky to a four-year $16.8million deal. This put Dubinsky among the top earners on the Rangers roster, now he was expected to be one of the top performers every night on the ice.
Dubinsky, in contrast to the Rangers, started the season in a slow but steady fashion, registering three points (0 goals, 3 assists) in the Rangers opening five games. This was all well and good for the Rangers, but Dubinsky was re-signed as a goal scorer. Dubinsky didn’t register his first goal until the fifteenth game of the season in a home game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Many Ranger fans believed this would spark the old Brandon Dubinsky into life. How wrong they were.
We are now into March, sixty-three games into the season and Dubinsky has seven goals and nineteen assists. For someone who earns as much as Dubinsky does this is not good enough. However last night, Rangers fans saw something they had not seen in nearly a year. It wasn’t just the goal Dubinsky scored that impressed the fans. The fact Dubinsky had been benched the previous night and was set to start on the fourth line on Friday, a response from the player was needed. The response is what impressed the Rangers fan base.
Both Dubinsky and the fans (if they can) need to forget this season so far , Dubinsky’s slump has not had any implications on the Rangers season , however Dubinsky has got the skill and the mindset to be a major factor in the Rangers playoff run. That goal last night doesn’t for one second mean that Dubinsky will be the same player as twelve months ago. In contrast, the Rangers don’t need him to be, if Dubinsky can be half the player down the stretch that he was last season, the Rangers might have a valuable piece of offense back to take into the playoffs.