This time, Shane O'Brien stayed out of management's doghouse.
According to various media reports, the colourful Vancouver defenceman has accepted a new one-year, $1.6 million deal with the Canucks, avoiding salary arbitration. The NHL club decided to keep the restricted free agent after he drew the ire of general manager Mike Gillis and coach Alain Vigneault during a turbulent 2009-10 season.
O'Brien, 26, exceeded his prescribed playing weight and was exiled from the dressing room for a week and scratched from four games after showing up late for practice. But he still proved reliable defensively while providing toughness to an injury-decimated blueline corps and drastically reducing his penalty minutes from the 2008-09 season.
That season, his first with the Canucks after arriving from Tampa Bay, he contended team management had ordered him to fight, but later withdrew the allegation. He now ranks as the team's sixth defenceman with eight rearguards under contract.
By not even bothering to file for arbitration, which often leads to acrimony between the team and player, he improved his chances of staying with the Canucks until he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. His deal provides salary cap leeway, pending an expected dealing involving another defenceman or two.
Winger Mason Raymond, who is in line for a big raise after a 25-goal season, and wingers Tanner Glass and Jannik Hansen have filed for arbitration but could still sign before they receive hearings to determine their salaries. The Canucks also have the option of walking away from any awarded deals if they are deemed too expensive.
The club now has 15 forwards under contract after re-signing journeyman centre Alexandre Bolduc, 25, who missed most of last season due to a shoulder injury. He will receive $500,000 in 2010-11 if he stays in the NHL.