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falling into place too fast?

Saturday nights game versus the Flames was highlighted by several factors. First meeting between the Flames and the Bolts since a little get together in June 2004 was the most notable one. Filip Kuba's return to the lineup after his benching in Edmonton was second among them. Vincent Lecavalier scratching #46 of course was notable...

But what about the trade-deadline acquisition and NHL rookie Shane O'Brien getting ice time with the Dan Boyle (meaning as a member of the Lightning's top 4 defensive corp)? O'Brien was all over the ice, logging almost 25 minutes of ice time and taking 30 shifts. Only Martin St. Louis, Boyle and Brad Richards logged more ice time and only Boyle took more shifts.

To see O'Brien be vaulted like that is exceptional -- especially while his acquisition has left some puzzled. The problem is, it's also risky. O'Brien is a competent player and a force to be renowned with but he is still a rookie. He is still new to the system. While pinching in and potentially chipping in on offense is said to appeal to him -- he's not fully assimilated into the system John Tortorella has in place. Though, it can and should be argued that Shane is more familiar with the Flames, having been on a western conference team, than most members of the Lightning roster. Jason Ward also seemed to benefit from this familiarity.

I personally think O'Brien will be a contributor on the Lightning defense for some years to come... It's nice to see him being trusted enough to take on such a difficult role so early in his tenure here. I just hope to hell it doesn't backfire...