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Lightning defenseman O'Brien could be on trading block

PRAGUE, Czech Republic — D Shane O'Brien was a healthy scratch Sunday. Was it because of Saturday's poor game, or is a trade in the works and Tampa Bay did not want O'Brien hurt?

Coach Barry Melrose said he hoped watching a game would help O'Brien in the long term and the media were being too hard on him about Saturday. But the team wants to strengthen its blue line — it inquired about Mathieu Schneider — and shed salary.

O'Brien, obtained with a third-round pick in February 2007 for a first-rounder and goaltending prospect Gerald Coleman, has a $950,000 cap hit.

There also are signs the Lightning has at least peripheral interest in veteran D Bryan Berard, cut by the Flyers, who has the offensive instincts it covets.

Berard's agent, Tom Laidlaw, said his client would try to work in any team's salary structure.

Melrose wants O'Brien to better work in the Lightning's on-ice structure: "We'd like him to be more physical, not run around as much. Hopefully, watching a game will be good for him."

TOUGH DAY FOR LECAVALIER: Vinny Lecavalier did not have a good game Sunday, especially with the puck. But the star center said his surgically repaired right shoulder was not to blame.

"The shoulder itself feels pretty decent," he said. "It's still a little sore, but that's something I'm going to have to go through the whole season."

Lecavalier, who played just two exhibitions before Saturday's season opener, had three shots and was minus-1 in 19:12 of ice time. He won 7 of 15 faceoffs; that's better than Saturday's 4 of 19. Still, he said, "I liked my first game better than my second. … Maybe (I was) a little bit fatigued because I haven't done much in a while. I have a few days off here, and I'll come back hard."

LUNDIN IN: Mike Lundin, one of last season's nicer surprises, replaced O'Brien and blocked five shots in 18:24 of ice time.

STAMKOS' GAFFe: Steven Stamkos was rewarded with a power-play spot. But the rookie center was called for hooking with 57.9 seconds left and G Olaf Kolzig about to be pulled.

"I thought I just tried to get a stick on him and knock the puck loose," Stamkos said. "I guess with the new rules it is a penalty and unacceptable on my part. But I didn't really think it had anything to do with stopping the player. Unfortunately, it was called. Definitely can't afford to do that down by a goal."

ODDS AND ENDS: D Vladimir Mihalik had a game-high six blocks. … F Ryan Craig, LW David Koci, D Paul Ranger and G Karri Ramo also were scratched.

Lightning defenseman O'Brien could be on trading block 10/05/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 2:01pm]
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