NHL Debut Bittersweet for Caps Rookie Liam O’Brien

Posted October 10, 2014

O’Brien is introduced to the Verizon Center crowd.  (Caps Outsider)

Capitals rookie Liam O’Brien only played 2:40 seconds in his first NHL game on Thursday, getting a shot on goal, a charging penalty, and a fighting major against Brandon Prust while sticking up for teammate Jack Hillen.

Following the 2-1 shootout loss to Montreal, O’Brien took questions for his first NHL regular season postgame interview. His initial thoughts?

“In a way it kinda sucks, cause we lost the game. To lose in a shootout, that makes it a little bit harder,” O’Brien said, with a very noticeable bruise on his nose. “But it was a great moment for me and a lot of fun.”

“O’Brien is a hard-nosed player,” Coach Barry Trotz said while acknowledging that he didn’t give much playing time to the fourth liners.

The 20-year old also knows that he’s got a short amount of time to make a statement, with injured players Jay Beagle and Tom Wilson and healing up and looking for a spot back in the lineup.

“I’ve gotta be effective every shift that I’m on the ice. I need to make sure I’m ready every shift that I’m on the ice. That’s kinda my role. I’m not going to have a lot of minutes, but when I’m out there I need to be effective and make the most of those minutes and contribute to the team as much as possible.”

As for his semi-epic fight with Prust? “It was one of the longer ones I’ve been a part of,” O’Brien said. “Just trying to get in there for a teammate.”

No matter what the future holds, his first NHL game is not anything he’ll ever forget. “When they called my number, it was incredible. I couldn’t really believe it. It was awesome, it was a great moment.”