Three Different Players Benched For Missing Practice In Three Straight Days

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Shane O'Brien Speaks About His Actions

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Shane O'Brien has missed the last three games for arriving late to a practice earlier this week, and allegedly was seen at a local bar the previous night. The 26-year-old spoke to the media on Sunday about his actions.

From TSN: "I made a mistake, I'm human and things happen and obviously being a professional it's no excuse," O'Brien said.  "It's a privilege to play in the NHL and an honour.  I made a mistake and I learned from it.  I did my time and I'm looking forward to moving forward and helping this team whenever I get back in the lineup."

O'Brien won't suit up today against the Minnesota Wild but has begun practicing alongside the club again, and eagerly awaits his return to the line-up. He believed that he did wrong by his teammates with this situation as well.

"Obviously this time of year, I know how hard we've been fighting all year to put ourselves in the position that were in," said O'Brien.  "For a distraction like this to come above winning hockey games and getting ready for the playoffs, I owe them a big apology."

While O'Brien has taken a step in the right direction with his statements, all he can do now is wait and hope that head coach Alain Vigneault is prepared to consider it water under the bridge.

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Three Different Players Benched For Missing Practice In Three Straight Days

Maybe the stars are aligning for Patrik Berglund, Mike Ribeiro and Shane O`Brien, because they were all benched over the last three days by their coaches for missing practice. Berglund, of the St. Louis Blues, missed practice after over sleeping on Saturday morning.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tells the story by quoting Blues head coach Davis Payne.

"From what we know, his battery was dead on his phone, which he uses as an alarm and he overslept," Payne said yesterday. "He didn’t get here on time, so we’ll dig more into it and handle it internally. We’re going to sit down and talk about why he relied on the alarm clock and it didn’t work and he didn’t get here."

Berglund apologized to the team and was back in the lineup after missing Sunday's game against Edmonton. But on that day, Ribeiro of the Dallas Stars missed a team meeting. Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News was on that one

Mike Ribeiro missed a team meeting Sunday and will be a healthy scratch tonight because of it, Stars coach Marc Crawford said.

Crawford didn't want to elaborate anymore and Ribeiro declined comment.

Crawford skated Ribeiro hard after the morning skate in what clearly was a message skate.

Shame on you, Mike. Hope you learned your lesson. As if two of these incidents around the NHL in two days wasn't weird enough though, O`Brien of the Vancouver Canucks missed Monday's practice, in an incident that could just be a little more than sleeping in and sitting out a game. Here's Ben Zuzma of The Province.

Shane O'Brien's absence from practice Monday became more than just a curiousity when Alain Vigneault refused to explain the defenceman's departure.

"I'm not going to answer any questions on O'Brien today — let's move on," said the Vancouver Canucks coach.

Asked if someone else in the organization should be speaking on the issue, Vigneault was short and curt in his response.

"I'm the guy," stressed Vigneault.

That would seem to indicate that something has upset the coach and the organization about O'Brien's play or his professionalism. After all, O'Brien was spotted at GM Place on Monday, but didn't practise as the team prepared to face Phoenix on Tuesday. A call to O'Brien's agent was immediately returned.

O`Brien was forced to skate by himself instead of with his team during their game-day skate Tuesday. He won't play against Phoenix, nor will he be in the lineup against Los Angeles on Thursday or against Anaheim on Friday. Kuzma quoted a defiant coach Vigneault.

"Obviously, there's more to this than just yesterday's incident, so we've got a plan for Shane O'Brien," Vigneault said Tuesday following the morning skate. "He will not be practising with the team until Sunday and his situation there will be re-evaluated — barring injuries to other players.


"He will not be joining us on this trip and his situation with the team will be re-evaluated. It's not a suspension. We've got a plan for him, a special program."

[...]

"I just said, there's more than this incident and I'm not a rookie at this, so you can try many ways with many questions — it's not going to work," stressed Vigneault.

Who knows how this one is going to turn out, but it's pretty evident from an outsider perspective that there's a rift between O`Brien and his head coach. The major question, of course, is whether or not that rift will be a distraction as the Canucks aim for a Stanley Cup.

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