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Jets’ Dubois set to face Blue Jackets in much-anticipated return

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Microscopes will be out and measurements are sure to be taken.

Those things come with the territory after the blockbuster trade on Jan. 23, 2021 that included franchise building blocks and now links the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets.

Thanks to a schedule largely impacted by the pandemic, the two teams will meet for the first time since Jan. 22, 2020 on Wednesday night — which also means it’s the first games for Pierre-Luc Dubois and Jack Roslovic against their former teams.

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And while the other headliner of this deal, Patrik Laine, remains sidelined with an oblique injury, this matchup is sure to generate plenty of intrigue — and with it, storylines.

It’s sure to be an emotional return to Nationwide Arena for Dubois, who was chosen third overall by the Blue Jackets back in 2016 and spent the first three-plus seasons of his NHL career with the organization before what became a messy divorce.

It will be interesting to monitor how Dubois is received, especially given the trade demand that ultimately led to his departure.

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Dubois was a centrepiece for the franchise and found himself in the middle of some magical moments for the Blue Jackets, including his post-season hat trick against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the qualifying round in 2020.

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There are sure to be some fans that will salute Dubois for his contributions and others that will voice displeasure.

It can be tough to predict how these homecomings are going to go and this one is no different.

Dubois has spoken openly about his appreciation for the Blue Jackets organization and the impact many within it had on shaping his young career, yet he’s never shared the details about what led to the trade request — believing that some things are better left unsaid.

Coming back is sure to invoke a lot of different feelings for Dubois, but he’ll do his best to compartmentalize those until the final buzzer sounds.

This isn’t a guy who lacks motivation, so it’s not like this opportunity will revolve around him being more determined to show the Blue Jackets what they’re missing or anything along those lines.

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That’s simply not his style. Dubois wants to perform every night, no matter where the stage takes him.

Could it provide a little extra bounce in his step? No question.

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Dubois has been letting his play do the talking this season, blossoming into the power forward the Jets envisioned when pulling the trigger on the trade.

This isn’t just about the offence he’s been able to produce either, which has him on pace to post career highs for goals, assists and points.

It’s about the strong, two-way play he’s provided and the chemistry he’s created with Kyle Connor to give the Jets a decisive one-two punch down the middle with Mark Scheifele.

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This is about the potential he’s showing and the ownership he’s taken in being a driver with the Jets.

There’s an additional emotional component to this first trip to Ohio as well for Dubois, who is wearing No. 80 this season to honour the late Matiss Kivlenieks.

The Blue Jackets raised a banner inside Nationwide Arena to honour Kivlenieks and you can be sure Dubois will be thinking of his friend when he looks skyward.

Juicy storylines notwithstanding, the Jets have dropped three consecutive games (0-2-1) and have run into some issues finding the back of the net of late, scoring just four goals during the stretch.

While Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck has allowed two goals or fewer in seven consecutive games, the offensive support has been lacking, even if the shot volume has mostly been plentiful.

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The Jets have made significant strides within the defence structure, but need to get going offensively without sacrificing the improvements made in playing without the puck.

Getting a struggling power play that has dipped from third in the NHL to 13th after a 1-for-18 stretch is one place the Jets could start.

Much like Dubois, Laine has done his part to put a frustrating season behind him, getting off to a strong start of his own prior to the injury, delivering three goals (including two game-winners) and 10 points in nine games.

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As someone who enjoys the spotlight, Laine would have had this game circled on the proverbial calendar, but he will now have to wait for the March 25 return to Winnipeg.

Roslovic is coming off his most productive game of the new season, pumping home his first two goals of the season in Monday’s win over the Buffalo Sabres.

While he was never just a throw-in, Roslovic wasn’t the centrepiece of the high-profile trade, so it was natural that eyebrows were raised when he was the most productive player in the deal last season.

Roslovic flourished with the move to his hometown team, relishing the additional ice time and responsibility to notch 12 goals and 34 points in 44 games while averaging nearly 17 minutes per game.

Things haven’t gone quite as smoothly this year.

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With Roslovic’s ice time down nearly five minutes per game, there’s been a noticeable dip in his offensive numbers as well, with seven points in 16 games while playing mostly third and fourth-line minutes.

Roslovic always believed he could have done more for the Jets if given more of an opportunity, while the Jets felt more consistency was required before a move up the depth chart was warranted.

That impasse is part of what led to the change of scenery.

The shift in address is seemingly working out for all parties and while it’s still too early to fully determine who won the trade, it’s always going to be part of the narrative and backdrop as long as the principles are part of these respective organizations.

Sizing things up in the moment is always part of the fun when moves like this are made and the latest opportunity to do so is right around the corner.

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Michigan vs. Iowa D, a key Big 12 showdown, more we're watching in Week 5

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Can Iowa shut down the high-powered Michigan offense? RJ Young and Laken Litman preview Week 5 of the college football season.



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Drew Timme Q&A: Talking with Gonzaga basketball's All-American senior

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Gonzaga All-American Drew Timme on why he decided to return to school, his quest for the title and more.



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MLB home run record: List of most home runs in a season, single-season leaders as Aaron Judge ties Roger Maris

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Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the season Wednesday night against the Blue Jays to rewrite baseball’s history books. His 61st home run tied him with Roger Maris for the American League single-season record. 

Judge is having a truly historic campaign, as he leads the majors in home runs, runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+, total bases, WAR and several other categories. 

One might have a few questions about that mark, so let’s get down and dirty with the all-time leaderboards. Just the facts here. 

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Most single-season home runs, MLB

1. Barry Bonds, 73, 2001
2. Mark McGwire, 70, 1998
3. Sammy Sosa, 66, 1998
4. Mark McGwire, 65, 1999
5. Sammy Sosa, 64, 2001
6. Sammy Sosa, 63, 1999
T7. Aaron Judge, 61, 2022
T7. Roger Maris, 61, 1961
9. Babe Ruth, 60, 1927
T10. Giancarlo Stanton, 59, 2017
T10. Babe Ruth, 59, 1921

Most single-season home runs, American League

T1. Aaron Judge, 61, 2022
T1. Roger Maris, 61, 1961
3. Babe Ruth, 60, 1927
T4. Hank Greenberg, 58, 1938
T4. Jimmie Foxx, 58, 1932
6. Alex Rodriguez, 57, 2002
T7. Ken Griffey Jr., 56, 1998
T7. Ken Griffey, Jr., 56, 1997
T9. Jose Bautista, 54, 2010
T9. Alex Rodriguez, 54, 2007
T9. David Ortiz, 54, 2006
T9. Mickey Mantle, 54, 1961
T9. Babe Ruth, 54, 1928
T9. Babe Ruth, 54, 1920

Most single-season home runs, National League

1. Barry Bonds, 73, 2001
2. Mark McGwire, 70, 1998
3. Sammy Sosa, 66, 1998
4. Mark McGwire, 65, 1999
5. Sammy Sosa, 64, 2001
6. Sammy Sosa, 63, 1999
7. Giancarlo Stanton, 59, 2017
8. Ryan Howard, 58, 2006
9. Luis Gonzalez, 57, 2001
10. Hack Wilson, 56, 1930 

Fastest to 60 home runs (by team games)

1. Barry Bonds, 141 games, 2001
2. Mark McGwire, 142 games, 1998
3. Aaron Judge, 147 games, 2022
4. Sammy Sosa, 148 games, 1999
5. Sammy Sosa, 149 games, 1998
6. Babe Ruth, 154 games, 1927
7. Mark McGwire, 155 games, 1999
8. Sammy Sosa, 157 games, 2001
9. Roger Maris, 159 games, 1961

Fastest to 61 home runs (by team games)

T1. Barry Bonds, 144, 2001
T1. Mark McGwire, 144, 1998
3. Sammy Sosa, 149, 1999
4. Sammy Sosa, 150, 1998
5. Aaron Judge, 155, 2022
6. Mark McGwire, 156, 1999
7. Sammy Sosa, 158, 2001
8. Roger Maris, 163, 1961

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Fastest to 62 home runs (by team games)

1. Barry Bonds, 144, 2001
2. Mark McGwire, 145, 1998
3. Sammy Sosa, 150, 1998
T4. Mark McGwire, 157, 1999
T4. Sammy Sosa, 157, 1999
6. Sammy Sosa, 160, 2001

So, as you can see, what Judge is doing in 2022 is truly historic. He has seven games left to pass Maris and set a new American League standard for single-season homer excellence.



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