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Shane O'Brien wishes he stayed with Tampa Bay Lightning

VANCOUVER — Canucks D Shane O'Brien said the day he was traded from the Lightning was "one of the toughest I ever went through," and said ownership "pushed the panic button way too early" as it put its imprint on the team.

"It's just unfortunate it got blown up as fast as it did and the way they got rid of guys," O'Brien said Friday. "But they wanted to put their mark on the team, and I don't think they gave it enough of a chance to let it evolve and develop."

O'Brien, 25, was traded Oct. 6 with RW Michel Ouellet for D Lukas Krajicek. He played poorly in the team's opening game and was scratched for the second.

Acquired in February 2007 as part of a deal in which the Ducks received a first-round pick, O'Brien, generally, was disappointing for the Lightning. He played 96 games with four goals, 23 points and was minus-11.

Still, he said had Tampa Bay kept last season's defense, the team could have been better.

"The way (goaltender) Mike Smith has played for them this year, if you would have kept our blue line — Dan Boyle, myself, Filip Kuba, (Alex Picard) — that's a pretty good blue line."

O'Brien, who entered Friday with nine assists, 157 penalty minutes, plus-10 and averaging 15:14 of ice time, had nothing bad to say about Vancouver —"It's been great to me" — but said his feelings for Tampa remain strong.

"I just really enjoyed it," he said. "When I came in there, they gave me an opportunity to play. I just wish I could have stuck around there and turned it around. It's a great place to play."

COUGHS, SNEEZES AND SNIFFLES: They were all around the locker room Friday. F Ryan Craig, who sounded like a foghorn, figured about half of the players have colds.

"I'm all stuffed up," he said.

G Karri Ramo said he had it so bad last week, he did not sleep for three nights "because I kept coughing." Krajicek was scratched against the Canucks because of a respiratory problem, coach Rick Tocchet said.

"With the planes and stuff, it's all incubated us together," explained the scratchy-voiced coach.

LINE CHANGES: Tampa Bay started the game with C Steven Stamkos on a line between Marty St. Louis and Mark Recchi. C Vinny Lecavalier was between Vinny Prospal and Ryan Malone.

"Some guys are getting a bit stale," Tocchet said.

"And I like to bounce Marty around a little."

The lineup also was a reward for Stamkos' improved play, Tocchet said, and an attempt to generate more offensive zone time to help snap Tampa Bay's streak of five straight games with at least 40 shots against.

"I'm trying to find combinations of guys who will be responsible, who will hold onto the puck and not throw it away," Tocchet said.

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Evgeny Artyukhin, who left Thursday's practice dragging his left leg after slamming into the end boards, played. … LW David Koci took some turns on defense. … Angelina Lawton, wife of GM Brian Lawton, was hired by owner Oren Koules as head of corporate communications. She is responsible for the design of the season-ticket renewal brochures that went out Friday. … Linesman Brad Lazarowich, a Vancouver native, worked his 1,500th NHL game.

Shane O'Brien wishes he stayed with Tampa Bay Lightning 02/27/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 28, 2009 6:30am]
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