Feb 20, 2012, 1:45 PM EDT
Easing oneself into the lineup after major surgery is a pretty standard NHL routine.
That said, Mike Green wants none of it.
The Caps blueliner made his return to action in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Tampa — his first game since Jan. 17 — and was pleased with how his surgically repaired abdomen responded after 14:14 of ice time.
So please, in fact, that he asked head coach Dale Hunter for more ice time.
“Fourteen minutes felt like four minutes for me,” Green told NHL.com. “I told [Hunter] I want to play more, that I feel good, so we’ll see.”
Green said the sports hernia surgery corrected a longstanding issue with his skating stride and that he felt improvement “almost immediately” after going under the knife. As such, he wants to jump right back into a full-time role, likely due to Washington’s place in the Eastern Conference standings (10th place, 63 points.)
“For the longest time before the surgery, even though I wasn’t sore, I didn’t have my skating stride,” Green said. “I couldn’t skate as well as I used to.”
Hunter dressed seven defensemen for the Lighting game — Green, Dennis Wideman, Karl Alzner, Roman Hamrlik, Jeff Schultz, John Carlson and Dmitri Orlov — with Carlson (22:51) and Alzner (20:39) leading the way in terms of ice time. The Caps head coach said he might employ the same seven-man unit against Carolina tonight.
- WATCH LIVE: Kings at Blackhawks 0
- Blackhawks tease good injury news for Kane 1
- Tough times in Tampa: Garrison out 3-4 weeks after ‘pretty dirty’ Abdelkader hit 22
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 29
- NHL on NBCSN: Stakes high for Kings, ‘Hawks tonight 21
- Blackhawks’ Sharp: ‘We knew we had to get two points’ 12
- Video: Brian Engblom takes a puck to the head 13
- Flames jump back into third in Pacific, beat Preds 6
- Letang concussed, Penguins will dress five defensemen 18
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks desperate for wins, Penguins seek definitive end to slump 7