Just today, I received an email from my friend, Catherine, with whom Erin & I split our Caps season tickets.
Boy, that Green… he sure sucks. Let’s get rid of him! ;-p
This after Mike Green scored the overtime, game-winning goal in the Caps v. Rangers game last night (which Catherine attended). It was Green’s 8th goal of the season, so he now—on Dec. 13, 2007—leads all defensemen in the NHL in goals.
Her gloating was precipitated by my 2+ years of disparaging comments on the subject of Mike Green. Let’s review his stats: 05/06, 3 points in 22 games, a minus 8; 06/07, 12 points in 70 games, a minus 10.
The following is my admittedly-defensive response to her triumphant email:
The last two years, and this year under [former Caps head coach Glenn] Hanlon, Mike Green was more of a liability on the ice than anything. He was not a “stay-at-home” defenseman, nor was he a “scoring” defenseman. He filled no specific role other than to occupy one of to spots on D, making us all hope and wish and pray that his partner on the ice could play defense like one and a half men… or better yet, play both points simultaneously.
So, given that evidence, it’s a no-brainer for me to dislike and shit-talk Mike Green.
Now, under [current interim head coach Bruce Boudreau, nicknamed] Gabby, it’s clear his role is becoming more defined. That being: “score a lot and play some D if you can find the time”. I’m still not convinced that he’s a very good D-man, but that’s OK if he’s paired with someone who can pick up his slack, especially so if he’s got good two-way forwards in front of him (Ovechkin, Clark, Gordon, shit even Newguy McSmiley… what’s his name, Laing?).
So in light of this new role, I think he’s doing fantastic. But it’s the team as a whole, and the way they’re all playing together, that allows Mike Green the latitude to not suck. If things stop clicking like they’ve been doing lately, then watch his production suffer almost as much as his plus-minus.
More like Semin… Mike Green goes the way the Caps as a team goes. He’s kicking ass, and so I’ve given him reprieve from the shit-talk. Even Erin told me I owe Mike Green an apology. BUT, we’ve all seen enough on the ice to know that he could easily turn into another Sergei Gonchar for the Caps*.
For now, consider me a tentative fan of Mike Green. If he can separate his level of play from the team’s tide, and be consistently good on the ice, I might start lovin’ the guy.
*Whether or not another Sergei Gonchar-style player on the Caps is a good thing or a bad thing… I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader. Personally, I think that would suck.