Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Saying Goodbye to the Pain Lion

When I first heard the Canucks had placed Shane O'Brien on waivers, I got sad. Not sad because I ever particularly liked his play. Sad because I particularly liked Shane O'Brien. I thought about writing this post a couple days ago, but my frown turned upside-down when I heard he had gone unclaimed on the waiver wire. Ever fond of the Pain Lion, I was ecstatic to learn he would remain Canucks property. Sadly, it appears Mike Gillis was never quite as fond of the guy as I was, and he deemed Manitoba too close. Especially in his proximity to the newest overweight whipping-boy Sergei Shirokov.

I suspect that having party boy Shane O'Brien in the same dressing room as all the Canucks prospects was a little like putting a Hershey's vending machine near the snack table of a Weight Watchers meeting. So, Gillis traded Shane O'Brien to Nashville, and I think Shane O'Brien's okay with that. There are lots of cowboy hats at the Roxy. He'll feel at home.

O'Brien joins the Predators organization, along with afterthought Dan Gendur, recently sent to the ECHL by the Moose. In exchange, the Canucks acquire Ryan "Suddenly a Journeyman" Parent and Swedish forward Jonas "Who?" Andersson. But whatever about those guys. Today is about Shane O'Brien. It's time to say goodbye.

Longtime readers of Pass it to Bulis (such as Skeeter, myself, and our wives) might know that we call Shane O'Brien The Pain Lion. Why? Well, it was far and away the worst suggestion for a new Shane O'Brien nickname following his fight with Wayne Simmonds and subsequent party last postseason. We at PiTB compiled all the terrible nicknames into one of our favourite posts of all time, Forum Fun! New Monikers For Shane O'Brien. Here are some highlights:

Shane "Double Guns" O'Brien
suggested by: rkoshack
Not sure if it's the most creative, but it does describe that time he flashed the double guns.

Shane "Pain Lion" O'Brien
suggested by: Godzilla Deuce
I am going to guess that a "pain lion" is a lion that is known to inflict pain. If such a thing existed, perhaps this nickname would make a little more sense. As it is, I, uh, don't know what to say. It's a bad suggestion, yet I feel strangely compelled to take it for myself.

Mean SOB
suggested by: Jester13
Jester13 added, "I mean seriously, am I the only one making the son of a you know what connection?" Is this guy new here?

Yes, a legend was born out of that fight. A legend at least one guy suggested be known as The Pain Lion. And we agreed. Ironically.

But there was more. Last season was Shane O'Brien's best from a personality standpoint. He was all over the place in the playoffs, which might not be good if you're a defenseman, but I digress. Terry Murray called him a clown. He briefly transmogrified into a blood unicorn. He was far and away the most visibly emotional Canuck during the playoffs--a time when players are unfairly expected to exhibit unreal calm.

We identified with Shane O'Brien because he was as bad at being robotic as Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man. He had a big mouth, which meant good quotes (especially out of context) and a huge smile (especially when he scored). He also partied hard--maybe half as hard as Andrew W.K, which is still quite hard. He struggled with his weight, he was late for practices, his actions often required apologies, and he was completely aware of his flaws. He was one of us.

Without Wellwood, Bernier, and especially O'Brien, this year's Canucks seem to lack a guy who can't seem to get his crap together. A guy with major character flaws. A normal guy. Yes, Shane O'Brien was a goofy slob, but that made him like me, and I'll miss that connection.


  1. This pretty much sums up how I feel about SOB leaving, he wasn't perfect in anyway and that's endearing to imperfect people who watch an imperfect game.

    You also clumped together all the things I'm gonna miss about him in a few paragraphs.

    But, I'd say that if Peter Schaefer makes the team he can fill that "every-man" spot in our hearts, he looked like the biggest long shot to make the team but he's still sticking around. He's got a goofy fred flinstone golf blade on his stick has that silly soup patch tuft of hair.

    And he made it all the way back into the NHL on hard work, something anyone can respect. But we gotta come up with an awesome nick-name for him.

    Pirate Pete? Pistol Pete? Peter Peter Burger Eater (if he goes over weight like SOB and Welly did)

  2. "Without Wellwood, Bernier, and especially O'Brien, this year's Canucks seem to lack a guy who can't seem to get his crap together"

    You're forgetting Torres. I have high hopes for him in the "can't-get-his-crap-together" department. Otherwise it might be a boring one-win-after-another season...

  3. Lol anonymouses.

    #1 - not sure if any of those names are quite right for Schaef. If I had to choose, I'd go with Peter Peter Burger Eater, but I'll wait until there's ample evidence he's a fatso.

    #2 Well played. It's hard to get behind Torres when he looks like guilty of so much douchery. But you're right. He's got a history of not being able to get his crap together, and that makes him somewhat endearing.

  4. I'm glad we all realize the need for an endearing schlub. It's the reason we're such big fans of Kyle Wellwood, SOB, and even Jan Bulis. They may not help the Canucks win hockey games, but they help the Canucks win over our hearts.

    Schaefer's got potential, as does Torres, but neither of them really have that goofball personality that I'm looking for. Hansen also has some potential with his excessively high voice and seeming inability to transcend being a bubble player. Bieksa seems to have gone from endearing everyman to devil-spawned goat in the eyes of the fanbase. The darkhorse is Ballard, who seems prone to both hilarious mistakes and moments of awesomeness, like a Kevin Bieksa that hasn't worn out his welcome.


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