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Suspension won’t change the way Mike Green plays

Mar 14, 2012, 3:37 PM EDT

Mike Green AP

It’s natural to wonder if a player will change his ways in the wake of the embarrassment and financial loss that comes with a suspension. When asked if a three-game suspension would alter his approach, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green told the Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir that it wouldn’t be the case.

“It was an accident,” Green said. “I’m not going to change the way that I play. I didn’t feel like I did anything vicious or anything like that.”

But “you just got to be careful; you don’t want to put anyone in danger,” he added. “Maybe I’ll hold up a little bit, but I’ll definitely always finish my check, body-to-body.”

El-Bashir brought up an area of Green’s game that does need to change – and a real eye-opener in that. You might have been aware that Green hasn’t been the double-edged sword of a force this season, but chew on this: he hasn’t registered a single point under Dale Hunter.

Green explained it away as a stylistic change and somewhat stunningly seemed happy about a simpler game plan that means less offense. (Or at least he made such a point on the record.)

“It’s a lot easier, simpler game to play under Dale, which is a good thing,” Green said. “In the past, I was expected to get up in the play and score and make plays and be back. It was a lot of work. I still feel like could do that. But my role has changed here. And that’s fine with me.”

It’s hard for me to believe that Green – a pending restricted free agent* with a lot of money to gain or lose in the coming months – is really gushing over his altered role.

As much as people beat up on him for his defensive lapses (fair or not), the guy has displayed rare scoring skills for a blueliner and is still deep in what should be his prime years at 26. Washington is in a good position to make the playoffs – and maybe even with their division – right now, but a rejuvenated Green sure would do a lot to make them a scarier playoff opponent.

* – CapGeek lists him as a restricted free agent. It’s an interesting situation because Green will turn 27 on Oct. 12, which would likely fall just a few days after the 2012-13 season starts.

  1. lsxphotog - Mar 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I like his response. Respectable answers.

  2. rsl22 - Mar 14, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Not everyone can be Scott Niedermayer, but hopefully he can find that balance for the Caps sake.

    Dimitri Orlov looks awesome though.

  3. jpelle82 - Mar 14, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    “I was expected to get up in the play and score and make plays and be back. It was a lot of work.” lol….really? professional hockey is a lot of work…who would have ever thought such a thing?…good thing Mike Green is so insightful.

    • rsl22 - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      Green was way up in the play on every shift, and then the first one back. Yea, that’s a lot of work. Skating your ass off up-and-back 3x a shift is insanely hard. If you played, I guess you were a goalie.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 15, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        if he doesnt want to work as a professional hockey player then he doesnt deserve to have a roster spot. maybe he should watch guys like letang and karlsson and take some notes on how to play his position. you dont hear them complaining about it being too hard, but then again they actually work at it. he sounds like an 8 year old who doesnt want to do his homework. his role has changed to what? a poor defensive defenseman who now cant score either?

      • rsl22 - Mar 15, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        You’re definitely the kind of person that doesn’t watch a player, but just hears a story and believes everything.

        Green was such a terrible(!) defenseman, but his numbers in 08-09 were 73 points in 68 games with a +24, and then 09-10 he had 76 points in 75 games, with a +39.

        Karlsson who’s sooooo good? 70 points in 70 games, +15. Letang? 31 in 40, +7.

        Yea, you really make a great a point that he needs to take notes from those two. They aren’t great defenders. If you want to tell him to watch Lidstrom or Chara or Pronger or Weber or Suter or a whole bunch of other players, fine…but please spare me the Letang and Karlsson are such amazing defenders garbage.

      • jpelle82 - Mar 15, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        you obviously dont watch letang, he is as sound of a defender as he is a scorer. i watch caps games because i live in virginia…mike green makes the highlight reel more times for getting burned than he does making a play….its a shame because he came out of the gates a pretty good player but he was never known for playing defense in the first place and he has been exposed even more now since he isnt scoring.

      • rsl22 - Mar 15, 2012 at 6:12 PM

        Karlsson and Letang are both likely to be perennial all-stars. I’m not saying they aren’t great players, that’d be stupid, they are. Green? He’s a star, but plays with either Schultz or Hamrlik, both of which are nightly healthy-scratch candidates.

        He’s just come back from two years of injuries, and it’s no surprise that he might be a bit off for now. In a years time (with hopefully a string of health), I really believe he’ll have a legit partner that’ll have him in the Norris trophy race (which he’s been a finalist for twice already).

        If you really don’t like his game, whatever, your choice (e.g. I personally don’t really like Stamkos or Brad Richards, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fantastic players); but I’m not going to count Green out of the game right now.

  4. watermelon1 - Mar 14, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    So what he’s saying is… He’ll still play little-to-no defense and leave his goalie hung out to dry?

    • joethorntonisclutch - Mar 14, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      and get suspended for it

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