"I don't really want to talk about it anymore. Obviously it was stressful; I said that. I also said it was hard to watch, but it's over. I don't have to worry about that anymore and I don't have to think about that anymore. It's time to focus on playing hockey."
-- Brandon Dubinsky
Becoming a better scorer is where the Rangers forward plans to start.
"You know, I feel like a lot of times I hold the puck a lot and can dominate a lot of situations, but I just don't quite get into that scoring location or I don't pull the trigger hard enough to score a goal," Dubinsky, who had 13 goals and 28 assists for 41 points last season, said Tuesday at the Rangers' suburban practice facility. "It's continuing to do the things I do well, but also put myself in better scoring position to get better opportunities and shoot the puck more."
Dubinsky, who last Saturday signed a two-year, $3.7 million contract, will get that chance in coach John Tortorella's up-tempo, attacking system. He'd better produce now because the coach, not mincing any words, said that's what comes with the territory.
"A scorer?" Tortorella asked rhetorically on Tuesday. "I think that's why they held out for that contract, didn't they? I hope so. I'm serious. We're not paying him ($1.8 million) to check. I'm not trying to run him down, but when it comes to that there are expectations and there are responsibilities that come into play now."
Dubinsky understands, which is why he was fairly curt with the media on Tuesday when discussing his week-long absence from camp before coming to terms on a new deal.
"I don't really want to talk about it anymore," he said. "Obviously it was stressful; I said that. I also said it was hard to watch, but it's over. I don't have to worry about that anymore and I don't have to think about that anymore. It's time to focus on playing hockey."
First he has to catch up to the rest of his teammates. Dubinsky missed key parts of Tortorella's first training camp with the Rangers, including two grueling days of conditioning when there wasn't a puck in sight.
Tortorella said he will put Dubinsky through all of his rigorous tests at some point before the season opens Oct. 2 in Pittsburgh.
"He'll probably play Thursday (against Washington), and then we'll see where he's at with conditioning and all that stuff," Tortorella said. "He's behind, and that's to be expected. We'll get him caught up."
Tortorella may not be all warm and fuzzy when talking about Dubinsky just yet, but at least the players in the locker room have accepted him back. Dubinsky said he watched football with a few on Sunday after signing his new contract a day earlier.
He was glad to be back with the boys again.
"They accepted me with open arms, and that was nice," Dubinsky said. "It's a thing of the past and we're in it together now, ready to move forward."
On one condition, though.
"We all know he's going to buy us dinner," goalie Henrik Lundqvist told NHL.com. "That's the deal, or at least that's what (Sean) Avery told me."
Dubinsky can afford to now, but if he wants to sign an even bigger deal with long-term security after the 2010-11 season, he knows his production has to go up, which means getting a little dirtier to score some gutsy goals.
"I can have the puck and great control of it and I can look up to make a play, but I'm not dangerous," he said. "I want to get the puck and be dangerous and that means going to the areas of high traffic and making sure you play more of a gritty game to get the scoring opportunities. That's something I'm definitely going to focus on."
He better if he wants to play a key role for this coach.
"What does he have to do?" Tortorella said, repeating the question. "I mean, he has to produce."