Most of the headlines regarding Todd McLellan losing his job as the Kings head coach have centered around the team’s poor performance over the past two months. And while the ‘team’ portion of the story is important, there is also at least one central figure in the multi-layered narrative — PL Dubois.
LA’s big off-season acquisition has had his fair share of struggles this season; they’re well documented. However, the inability for McLellan and Dubois to communicate effectively and be on the same page was never more apparent than an exchange we had with the two just a few weeks ago:
There were some telling quotes in there from both sides.
Now, following GM Rob Blake’s decision to replace the team’s head coach, and following more than a week away from hockey, Dubois has returned to Los Angeles refreshed and ready to turn the page.
During the All-Star/mandatory break, Dubois went to Hawaii for a bit; as did Kevin Fiala, Mikey Anderson, and Carl Grundstrom. Each had a chance for some individual downtime, as well as some bonding with their teammates.
“I spent time at the beach, watched every Lilo & Stitch movie known to man to keep me in the mood,” Dubois said, followed by one of his patented sly smiles and a light chuckle. “Then, came back and went to Disney! All in all, it was a great trip.”
Of course, the news of McLellan’s departure also took place just as their trip to the islands was beginning. That lead to the obvious question of, how difficult was it to relax while something so major was taking place on the mainland? Did he find his mind wandering back to hockey when he was supposed to be relaxing?
“I wasn’t really on my phone most of the trip, so I was a little late to see the news,” he shared. “On the break, you’re trying to let go of hockey for a bit and just relax, enjoy the 90 percent of life that is not hockey.”
Before we even really had a chance to ask much about McLellan, Dubois opened up — something he’s been consistently willing to do since arriving in LA, never shying away from any discussions — to share several thoughts about his former coach.
“I didn’t work with Todd for that long, it was only the four or five months since the start of the year, but I got to know him and he’s a really hard working coach,” Dubois explained. “He did a lot of good things for this organization. He arrived here when the team was at a low and brought them several good seasons. I wish him nothing but the best going forward in the future, in this career and his life.”
Which, naturally, transitions into what’s next. For Dubois to truly turn his own season around, he’ll need to quickly make any adjustments needed and start to contribute more than he has been.
We reminded him of our previous conversations about communication and wondered if he now felt like the hiring of Jim Hiller meant he would have to start all over again from square one.
“Jim and I have talked a lot throughout the season, from the start up until this point,” noted Dubois. “I think we have a really good relationship. He’s tried to help me a lot; whether it was with video or through communicating with me, talking to me to see how it was going every day. In a way it’s a new head coach, but he’s somebody that was here and I already have that relationship with him. He’s seen me play, he’s seen what I can do better, and he has seen what I need to do for this team. So, in a way, it is starting new, but not from square one.”
For his part, Hiller added this:
On how he can get more out of Dubois:
I’ve talked to PL. He wants to get more out of himself, he understands that. There’s two parts to the equation. He’s going to be willing to do that. And then, we’ve got to push him. He’ll get opportunities; when he’s playing well, he’ll probably play more. And if he’s not going as well, whoever is, they will play more. So, it’s not a matter of a magic potion or anything like that. It’s just a matter of getting an opportunity again, doing the work. I don’t know if you noticed, we skated today, and then [after practice], he ended up with some of the younger players getting up out of the [final stretching routine] and getting some extra work in. That to me, catches my attention. So that’s not me doing anything for PL. that’s PL doing something for himself right now.
Hiller’s full quotes can be viewed at the article linked below.
Kevin Fiala after practice… pic.twitter.com/lbDZ6IGu5M
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) February 9, 2024
Lead photo via ALoImages
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com