It’s Not Easy Being Greenie

Posted January 3, 2014

Mike Green warming up before Thursday’s game against Carolina. (Caps Outsider)

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of Caps’ defenseman, Mike Green? Defense? Offense? Injury? Trade? Whatever comes to mind, fans have mixed opinions as to the fate of the former ‘Young Gun’. Some are steadfast in their devotion to Green, while others are calling for a trade. And if you are leaning toward the latter, Thursday night’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes didn’t do much to create a change of heart. An overtime tip-in goal by the Hurricane’s forward Jeff Skinner assisted by Ryan Murphy, going one-on-one with Green, sealed the victory for the Hurricanes.

With the 2014 Olympic Games just weeks away, the native Canadian and two-time NHL Norris Trophy finalist can only sit back and watch a select group of his teammates go off to represent their respective countries in Sochi, Russia. He can only watch as fellow Caps’ defenseman, John Carlson, basks in the limelight of being named to the US Olympic Team. Green wasn’t even invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp last August. Another fellow Caps’ defensemen, Karl Alzner, was invited to participate in that orientation.

But in 2009, Green thought he had done enough to impress Hockey Canada Officials, yet he was not chosen for the Canadian Olympic Team. He wanted the opportunity to represent his country while the Olympics were being held in Vancouver, but Team Canada had other ideas opting for one offensive defenseman, veteran, Dan Boyle. The other defensemen chosen were hard core defensive players with a primary focus on defending, not scoring. Canada went on to win the Gold Medal at the 2010 Olympic Games, without Green.

Then, there are the injuries. From concussions to knee to ankle, Green has suffered a multitude of injuries that have sidelined him for extended periods of time. Consequently, this has rendered him inconsistent and put a substantial hit on his overall performance.

Despite his inconsistencies on the ice, Green remains a very popular player with the fans, and not just Caps’ fans. From the US to Canada and beyond, hockey fans love Mike Green—especially the ladies. But good looks plus boyish charm do not add up to a Stanley Cup Championship. And even with some fans calling for a change, Green can’t be traded. He has a no trade/movement clause in his contract. He is the third highest-paid player on the Caps’ team making a little over 6 million dollars a year. His contract runs until the end of the 2014-2015 season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Whatever you think of Mike Green, he’s a keeper, at least until 2015. So, let’s be optimistic and hope for the best. Let’s have confidence that he, and the rest of the Caps, can dig out of their holiday slump and create a Happy Hockey New Year for all of us.

The next Caps game is Saturday, Jan. 4 against the Minnesota Wild. Let’s Go Caps!