Nashville Predators defenseman Shane O'Brien was a treat to have, from a media perspective, during his two years in Vancouver. He never met a microphone he didn't like, got himself in hot water with coaches and management from time to time, and his off-ice antics were well documented.
To no ones surprise O'Brien was the center of attention in the Predators room Thursday morning as Nashville and Vancouver prepare for their first ever playoff match-up, which gets going tonight at Rogers Arena.
Current Canuck defenseman Kevin Bieksa spent time paired with O'Brien during the 27-year-old's first season in Vancouver and has already been warned by Alain Vigneault not to get in a war of words with O'Brien through the media.
"I haven't talked to him at all," Bieksa said. "I was told not to make this series a spectacle like last one with me and John Scott. I'll let him throw the first dagger."
Apparently the conversation between Bieksa and Vigneault was not to be talked about either.
"I had a conversation with Kevin about that? Is that what he said," questioned Vigneault during his morning presser. "I won't get into the specifics of that. That's a private conversation."
It's clear the gag order won't be on for two long between the two former teammates.
"As soon as Shane O'Brien says his first quote that rubs us the wrong way -- then it's on," Bieksa added.
For his part O'Brien took a quick jab and then turned his answer back to the real focus -- the series between the Canucks and Predators.
"Yeah Juice (Bieksa) – that guy was on TV more than I was when I played here now," O'Brien said laughing. "But I'm a Nashville Predator now and it's been a good year, I've learned a lot. I'd be lying if I said I'm not excited to play my former team and have an opportunity here to knock them out of the playoffs."
O'Brien tried to tell the media that he hadn't had any discussions with coach Barry Trotz regarding his former teammates.
"I think I let the coaches do that mostly," he said, attempting to turn away from the question. "There might be some tidbits here or there, but I'm not going to share my secrets with you guys. I know I give you a lot, but I'm not going to give you that much."
All joking aside, Trotz has seen a steady growth in the guy his teammates call 'OB'.
"I've heard all the things about Shane, his time in Vancouver. He's matured a lot," said Trotz. I think there is a young man who is growing on the ice and off the ice.
"Our game matures at different rates. I tell our young players the Andrew Brunette story. You're not going to make it to the NHL and always have your game in order when you're 19 or 20-years-old, but when you're 25 or 26, 27, your life and your game comes into some order. A lot of people wrote Andrew Brunette off for a long time, but 15-years later he's still playing"