One of the biggest changes of the Avalanche in the offseason came at the back end with the team signing several big, physical defensemen. Shane O’Brien, who is currently listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, is one of those looking to make an impact with Colorado this season and help the team return to the playoffs.
O’Brien talked with us after Day 2 of training camp on what kind of player he is and what he is like outside of the rink.
How has it been trying to build team chemistry during the first couple of days of training camp? It’s been great. From the front office down to the trainers to everyone, there are a bunch of great guys in this dressing room and it seems to me that everyone gets along and plays hard for each other. Coming off of the year that we had last year, there is a bit of urgency here and we want to get back to the playoffs. I am going to do everything I can to come in and win hockey games and get us back to the playoffs.
If you can describe your play on the ice in one word, what would that word be and why? I like to think ‘solid.’ I just want to be solid every night and let my teammates and coaches know that I am going to be out there every night and will be reliable and solid and just try and make a good first pass. When guys do come into our zone, I make them pay the price and make it hard on them, keep them to the outside and not let them get to Varly and Jiggy, and let them see the puck. I just want to play solid every night.
What is your all-time favorite training camp moment? I think my first training camp in Anaheim when I got in my first exhibition game. Obviously a year later I ended up making the big club right out of camp. When they let you know that you’re not going down to the minors and you’re going to start the year with the team, it’s exciting and is every kid’s dream. It was one of the better days that I’ve had.
What is one of your favorite nicknames? I wore number six in the minors so they called me six-pack. I wasn’t quite in the best shape of my career then, either. I was a little softer on the stomach and I wore number six so the boys decided on six-pack. It was all in good fun though.
What is your favorite thing to do on road trips? The great thing about the road is that you get to go to dinner with the boys and being on the plane and the bus with the guys – that is where you build your team chemistry. A lot of guys are now married and have families back at home so they have a lot of responsibilities, which is understandable. However on the road it is just you and 21 other guys that have to get a job done and that’s when you get to know the guys – hanging out at the hotel, going to dinner – that’s what it’s all about.
Are you more of a playing cards or magazine kind-of-guy on road trips? I like to chuck the cards around on the plane, but it’s such a long season that once you get into your room, it is all about relaxing and getting a good meal into you and resting up because it’s grind. It’s not easy to play on the road in the NHL. If you want to get into the playoffs, you have to win on the road. That’s also what makes it more fun – when you win a road game and you hop back onto the bus and plane and come back home with a victory.”