Former Tampa Bay Lightning D Shane O'Brien will remember time here "forever"
Caught up with former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Shane O'Brien after the Canucks' morning skate on Tuesday, and O'Brien, 16 months after he was traded to Vancouver in the Lukas Krajicek deal, still has a soft spot in his heart for the Lightning.
"Just a lot of good memories," he said. "I met a lot of great people, and it was definitely a lot of fun. I will remember my year and a half there forever. But as for any hard feelings, it's been so long past, but I definitely want to win, and the boys know that. They (the Lightning) are fighting for their lives. We're fighting for our division, so it should be a good test."
About the day he was traded, O'Brien said, "The day I got the phone call and left here was definitely one of the hardest days I went through. I have a lot of great friends here. I still believe at the time we had the foundation, the pieces to still be a good hockey team. ... They made a decision to move me to Vancouver and it's worked out well for me, but there's still part of me that wonders what would have happened if I would have stayed. But that's life, and you have to go with it. It worked out well."
As for all the moves Tampa Bay made at the time, also moving Filip Kuba and Alex Picard and a 2009 first-round draft pick for Andrej Meszaros about a month before moving O'Brien, he said, "At the time, I looked at the defense we had and I was really shocked. Obviously, they made some decisions they felt were right at the time, and if they looked back, last year they didn't have the year they wanted, so maybe they regretted it a little bit. They're playing well and they've moved forward. I've moved forward, but there's still days I wonder what the reasons were. But you can't worry about that stuff."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Antero Niittymaki, on a 6-0-1 run with a 1.10 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage, gets another start in net. ... With Anaheim center Ryan Getzlaf hurt, speculation was perhaps Lightning center Steven Stamkos would be put on notice for the Canadian Olympic team, but Stamkos said he has not been contacted. In fact, he said he already has plans for the Olympic break to vacation and then head back home to Unionville, Ontario, to see family and friends. He did, however, say , he bought trip insurance, "So I should be okay if I get the call." ... Despite being shut down offensively, for the most part, Saturday against the Flames, coach Rick Tocchet said he saw something very good about his players. "The one thing I liked about our team that we've had problems with in the past is when another team smothers us we start playing river hockey," Tocchet said. "It's okay to be down 1-0. It's okay to be 1-1 late in the second period, at the start of the third. We don't want to be a river hockey team because another team is shutting us down. It's only 1-0, relax, we still have plenty of time. That was the best I've seen our team stay in that system." ... Tocchet called the line of center Henrik Sedin and wings Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows perhaps the best in the league. "They know each other so well," Tocchet said of the twins. I love the fact that they do area passes. With today's game, you can't play man-on-man, and they know that guy will be going through an area. And what I like about those guys is they are not afraid to go to the middle of the ice. They play in the middle of the ice as good as any elite players in the league."