After missing the past three games for disciplinary reasons, Vancouver Canucks defenceman Shane O'Brien took full responsibility for his actions on Sunday as he discussed his abscence from the team with the media.
"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."
Last week, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault told the media that O'Brien would not practice or play with the team after being late for a practice. At the time, Vigneault stressed that O'Brien was not suspended, however he was being disciplined.
There were various online reports that O'Brien was seen at a Vancouver bar the night before.
Vigneault would not discuss the incident, and would only say that the team dealt with the issue internally.
"Whatever we did with Shane, we did in his best interest and the best interest of the team," said Vigneault.
O'Brien broke his silence with the media Sunday prior to the Canucks' game with the Minnesota Wild and took full responsibility for his actions however he stated that he does not believe that he has a problem with alcohol.
"I don't think I have issues at all," said O'Brien. "I'm a [26-year old] single guy. I like to go out and have a good time every now and then. Do I need to pick my spots better? Maybe. This time of year, definitely."
In addition, O'Brien has been in and out of Vigneault's dog house all season long and has battled weight issues. He has lost eight pounds since he last played. He was able to find a bit of humour in his weight issues.
"If I ate like the media did on the plane I wouldn't be in the league," O'Brien joked.
The Port Hope, Ontario native said that the team wanted his playing weight to be about 230 pounds and that he had let himself go a little bit during the Olympic break.
While he will not be in the lineup Sunday against the Wild, he is once again practicing with the team and he looks forward to returning to the lineup. He also stated that he felt that he had let his teammates down.
"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."
He also said that he felt no ill will towards his Vigneault and he hopes that both sides can move on.
"He did what he thought was good for the team and I'm in no position to argue it. I made a mistake and in life when you make a mistake there are consequences. I knew that and I had to be a man and step up and I feel that I've done that."
With his contract is up at the end of the season, O'Brien could not have picked a worse time to be punished by the team. While O'Brien admitted that he would like to return, he realizes that the situation is out of his hands.
"I like it here, I love the guys and everyone here is first class but ultimately it's their decision," O'Brien said.