It is an emotional day for Brandon Dubinsky, as his Blue Jackets square off against his former Blueshirts at the arena he used to call home.

Dubinsky’s return to Madison Square Garden marks his first time back since being shipped off to Columbus last July in exchange for Rick Nash. In anticipation of the upcoming game, the former New York Rangers fan-favorite spoke to our own Allyson Gronowitz about rivalries, the Columbus captaincy, and how emotions play into his game:

* FIRST TIME BACK AT MSG – DISTRACTION OR MOTIVATION?

It won’t be a distraction. After the puck drops and I take a couple of shifts, it’ll turn into just another game. Coming in here this morning and being on the other side of the rink was certainly different, and I’m sure it’ll still feel different when I take the ice tonight on the other bench. But I anticipate coming in here and playing for the purpose of gaining another two points for our club.

* ON POTENTIAL BLUE JACKETS-RANGERS RIVALRY:

Everybody wants to pressure a rivalry, but rivalries build themselves. These two teams haven’t played a lot yet. Obviously, there is a lot of individual motivation on both sides as far as traded players go, so that might amp up the energy and emotion of the game. But it takes a playoff series or a solid amount of games played between two teams to build up a rivalry. You need hatred, and I’m not sure that’s there yet.

* ON A CAPTAIN-LESS COLUMBUS SQUAD:

We spent all of last season and this season without an official captain, so no one really thinks about it or pays attention to it at all. We have leadership just like any team does. I know some teams name “C”s, but—I can guarantee you—I was in the New York Rangers’ dressing room, and Ryan Callahan isn’t the only guy stepping up and saying something. There are a lot of vocal guys over there, a lot of leaders who step up and say things. To us, it’s just not that important.

* ON FOLLOWING UP HIS TWO GAME MISCONDUCTS WITH A 4-POINT NIGHT THE NEXT DAY:

It’s big. I play the game emotionally, but I have to make sure that my emotions are in check. I can’t let guys get under my skin and put myself in that position. My team needs me on the ice, so I need to be cognizant of that.