It’s Mike Green’s world and we’re all just living in it.
On Tuesday morning, Hockey Night In Canada’s Elliotte Friedman published his latest 30 Thoughts column. The article mostly focused on Randy Carlyle’s hairy situation in Toronto, but it also featured six juicy tidbits of information on the Capitals.
22. Before the season, a few Eastern teams thought the combination of Barry Trotz, Todd Reirden, Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik would have the biggest influence of any off-season moves in that conference. Can’t argue that so far. It took eight games before Washington allowed 30 shots, and it’s no coincidence the Capitals’ worst game was a 6-1 preseason loss in Buffalo. Niskanen and Orpik didn’t dress for that one.
23. From one-to-five on the blueline, their minutes are very even, running from 23:14 (Niskanen) to 19:42 (Karl Alzner). Among returnees, Nate Schmidt (number six) is down 4:15 per game, John Carlson is down 1:21 and Alzner 0:50. Also down significantly: Mike Green (2:53). Green, who is unrestricted after this season, is being watched by other teams, as they wait to see how Brian MacLellan handles things.
24. The early reviews are positive. One scout: “Green is trying. He (used to be) sloppy in coverage, bad stick, not finishing checks. Now, he’s staying on the right side of the puck.” MacLellan sees a difference, too. “When other teams played us, the plan was to hit him— finish your checks. It took its toll. Now, we have other options. It eases the pressure on him.”
25. The Capitals have yet to discuss an extension with Green. “We’ll leave that for later in the season,” the GM said. “Let’s see how this shakes out.”
26. Another Eastern Conference coach on the Nicklas Backstrom/Eric Fehr/Alexander Ovechkin line: “They still cheat, but not as much. I suspect that’s by design they’re allowed to…you still want opponents to be scared of them. The (Jason) Chimera/(Joel) Ward line, for example, plays differently.”
27. Finally on Washington: MacLellan said new goalie boss Mitch Korn worked with Braden Holtby “to get his arms and legs more aligned with his body.” Sounds important for everyday life, not just hockey.
All of this is fascinating, minus the “Green is trying” part. Usually I need about five or six paragraphs to slay a Caps hater, but here I only need one sentence. Green led all Capitals skaters in possession last season. The insinuation that he’s trying harder this season or wasn’t trying hard last season is, to be succinct, a pile of horse dung.
It’s sad that when Green finally receives acclaim for his play, they’re ultimately backhanded compliments.
At seven points (2G, 5A), Mike Green leads all NHL defensemen in even-strength (5-on-5) points this season. #Caps
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) October 28, 2014
We’ve got your back Greenie.
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