O’Brien said he was told in a one-on-one meeting last week with general manager Mike Gillis that the team needed him to fight more.And that's not all. There's more.
"I am a player," O’Brien said. "I don’t want to be just considered a fighter."
O’Brien has been replaced on the Vancouver defence by Rob Davison and on Monday he skated as an extra in practice alongside benched forward Mason Raymond.
"I am not happy with it," O’Brien said. "I don’t want to take anything away from Davie (Davidson), because he can play. But I am at the point in my career where I think I need to play. If they don’t think I’m worth playing to see if I can develop, if they just want me to a fighter or whatever, maybe it’s not the right situation."
O’Brien said he has not asked for a trade and has not communicated his concerns to Gillis or head coach Alain Vigneault.
"You don’t say much to the GM, he’s the boss," O’Brien said. "Like I said, it was the first time he has said anything to me all season. It’s like any profession, sometimes you don’t want to hear what the boss has to say, but at least I know what he’s thinking."
O’Brien said he has never been reluctant to drop the gloves, but repeated that he doesn’t want to be labelled as just a fighter.
"I’m not going to lie to you guys," O’Brien said. "I am not going to sit here and say all the right things, like I’m just happy to be part of the team. I want to play, I want to improve as a player, I want to stay in the league as long as I can. You can’t do that from the press box."
Alain Vigneault is happy that O'Brien is unhappy. He hopes it will light a fire under the D-man. You can read more about that in the Sun as well.
I thought Rob Davison struggled quite a bit with the puck on Saturday night. It's time for O'Brien to step back in. We'll see if he can draw the line between physical and disciplined.
I don't think management just wants him to be a fighter. I think he's misunderstanding them a bit. However, if you look at O'Brien's career stats, he's been more of a goon than a scorer. I want to see him play super physical in his own zone and be reliable defensively. Guys like Ohlund, Salo, Bieksa, and Edler can do the scoring. If Shane-o-mac doesn't like that, he can hit the road. The team doesn't need whiners right now.
***SPEAKING OF WHINERS***
Mats Sundin was practicing on a line with Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra today. You know, that line may just work. Good to see Kesler get more of a scoring role.
I don't see any problem with Ryan Johnson moving up to the checking line role in Kesler's place.
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