SOB apologizes, Gillis accepts
Like any good relationship who has just had a fight, they talked it over and cleared things up. And after the game-day skate yesterday, Shane O’Brien apologized.
Instead of driving his career into the ditch, Shane O’Brien took the high road Tuesday.
The Vancouver Canucks defenceman clarified his comments over the frustration of being a healthy scratch Saturday and not understanding the message that he must play tougher and not necessarily fight. O’Brien met with general manager Mike Gillis on Tuesday morning to map out the right route for his eventual return to the lineup. It’s a far cry from Monday when O’Brien indicated that this might not even be the right situation or place for his career to flourish.
“I feel bad about saying that,” said O’Brien. “I didn’t want to make it seem like I’m quitting on my team or anything like that. I still believe I can be a solid defenceman in this league and every player has to think that or you don’t have a chance. Maybe they don’t think that now, but I’m going to prove that I can play the minutes I can play.”
In a meeting with management last week, O’Brien was told that he must cut down on bad penalties and be more willing to play physical. Something was obviously lost in translation because O’Brien believed the message also indicated that he didn’t fight enough.
“I’m frustrated right now with the way things are going,” added O’Brien, who is 5-0 in scraps this season, has only taken eight minors in the last 14 games and is a plus-7. “It gives me no right to say something that was said in a private meeting. The way I said it or the way you [media] took it was incorrect. Mike Gillis never told me I have to fight. He was just talking to me about playing physical and maybe I took it the wrong way. I want to be in the lineup and nobody likes losing and it’s a tough situation. I didn’t help it by doing what I did and I apologized to my teammates because it’s selfish.”
Mike Gillis also accepted partial responsibility for the miscommunication.
Gillis said he met with O’Brien Tuesday morning to clarify last week’s meeting. Gillis said although he was disappointed that O’Brien discussed what was intended to be a private meeting with the media, he accepts partial responsibility because it is obvious O’Brien left that meeting confused.
“It’s partly my responsibility that he didn’t leave that meeting with complete clarity because that was the purpose of it,” Gillis said. “We were absolutely clear when he asked us if what we wanted him to do was fight, we said no. What we want him to do is get committed to conditioning, get committed to moving his feet and we want him to be a better player that we can trust. He took that somehow to mean we wanted him to fight and it’s absolutely baffling to us.”
Time to move on.