There’s no shortage of reasons why Brandon Dubinsky wants to forget the 2011-12 regular season.
The Rangers forward started the campaign with a 14-game goalless drought, dropping from the second to fourth line in the process. In November, he drew headlines for calling Philadelphia’s Jody Shelley a “terrible hockey player.” At February’s trade deadline, he was rumored to be part of a package deal for Columbus’ Rick Nash and after the deal didn’t go through, he found himself in John Tortorella’s doghouse after taking a series of bad penalties.
He finished the year with just 10 goals and 34 points, way off last year’s career highs of 24 and 54.
No surprise, then, that Dubinsky wants to start anew when the Rangers take on the Senators in the opening round of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“In all reality it’s been a nightmare of a year for me,” Dubinsky told the New York Times. “You have expectations for yourself and when you don’t meet those expectations, it weighs and it kind of builds — it continues to build and build and build. It’s tough. But this is a great opportunity for me, and it’s a clean slate.
“The guys around me have picked me up and have played well enough to put us in a great position to have home-ice advantage. That gives me a little extra motivation to come out and make an impact.”
Though his postseason experience is somewhat limited, Dubinsky’s been a great playoff performer for the Rangers. He has 15 points in 22 career games and the New York Post’s Larry Brooks said he was the team’s best forward in a five-game loss to the Capitals.
While Tortorella has been hard on the 26-year-old this season, he knows he’ll need Dubinsky to step up this postseason.
“This is an important time for him, because Dubie cares,” Tortorella said. “I think he really wants to try to help the team. He’s a type of player in the playoffs that can get us to the next level.”