Alexandre Picard has come in and done the job that O’Byrne needed to do every night. Picard has a more natural ability in handling the puck and is a physical presence on the ice. O’Byrne has mostly been unsure with the puck, getting rid of it quickly, and as big as he is (6’5, 234 lbs), he has never really cast a menacing shadow on the ice. I’ve whined often on these pages that this big fellow would be a lot more effective both for himself and his team if he played in a much nastier mood.
But this angry style just doesn’t seem to fit O’Byrne’s likeable demeanor.
And of course, although very little is expected of O’Byrne in the offence department, he’s only scored two goals since his arrival in the league in 2007 and a few more here and there would have helped his cause greatly.
It hasn’t been been smooth sailing for O’Byrne as a Hab. There’s been a couple of things, one in Tampa a few years back, and a goal he scored on his own net, that have been very unfortunate and something I’m not going to dwell on. In the Tampa incident in particular, I believe O’Byrne was a victim of misunderstanding for all concerned, and it’s very unfortunate.
I think O’Byrne is a fine man, a gentleman, well-spoken, and comes from good upbringing in Victoria which, if you’ve never been, is a lovely city.
And whether or not it was his or the team’s decision for O’Byrne to pull off his number 3 jersey and hand it to Emile Bouchard, it was still a noble and emotional gesture and I was very proud of him that night.
Whatever jersey O’Byrne dons in the future, I hope he does well and enjoys a long NHL career. I think he’s one of the good guys.