WINNIPEG — After a long couple of weeks, Pierre-Luc Dubois finally stepped on the ice with the Winnipeg Jets.
The 22-year-old, was acquired from Columbus on Jan. 23, but had to quarantine for two weeks amid Manitoba's COVID-19 travel regulations, practised for the first time with his new team on Sunday.
"It felt good to finally get out there," Dubois told reporters. "Two weeks of just working out in your living room keeps you, to a certain extent, in shape, but there's nothing like skating out there and today was a good practice."
The Jets sent Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets in the blockbuster deal for Dubois, who had requested a trade. He could make his debut Tuesday against Calgary.
He skated Sunday with Kyle Connor and Trevor Lewis on the team's third line, calling is linemates "two amazing players."
"K.C. is one of the most under-rated players in the NHL and Lewie brings that experience, just helping me with all the systems and everything," Dubois said. "He can pass the puck, he works really hard, so it felt really great to be out there with those two."
Dubois said his cardio fitness probably isn't quite at the level it was before being confined to his home for two weeks.
"But the team was great with the equipment they gave me, which allowed me to work out," he said. "I've just been trying to stay in shape as much as I can. Obviously you lose some of that because there's nothing like skating and playing and practising."
Dubois said the days in isolation were deceivingly busy.
"In a way it's been a slow two weeks because I haven't done anything, but in another way it's been a crazy two weeks, with all the video, watching games, getting ready, meeting guys over text and FaceTime and Zoom," he said. "It's been a hectic, yet slow, two weeks. Now I'm finally at practice and just really excited to play that game."
Dubois scored just one goal in five games to start the season for Columbus, after leading the Blue Jackets last season in points (49) and assists (31).
Jets coach Paul Maurice said Dubois showed no rust Sunday despite the layoff.
"He handled practice without a problem. You wouldn’t have been able to come to the rink and pick the guy that’s been in quarantine for two weeks out," Maurice said. "He pushed himself I think as much as he could when he was off the ice. And I think he’ll just get stronger and faster."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2021.