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Catching Up With Mike Green

In preparation for my trip to Las Vegas for the NHL Awards Show, I spoke to Mike Green by phone for a few minutes this afternoon. Green, of course, is up for the Norris Trophy and said he's already "relaxing" in Sin City.

The 23-year-old blueliner has spent most of the past month in his hometown of Calgary working out with his personal trainer, focusing on strengthening his shoulder and getting healthy. He reiterated today that declining health in the playoffs had a lot to do with his struggles after a brilliant -- and record-setting -- regular season. In addition to suffering from a bum shoulder, Green said tests after the Caps were eliminated revealed he was also "ill."

"It wasn't the minutes," he said. "I did have some tests done and I was actually ill, along with some other things. It was tough to play when you're not feeling well. I'm making sure that I don't get sick next year and stay healthy."

Green declined to divulge the exact nature of the illness, but he said the symptoms were flu-like.

As far as the injury to the AC joint in his shoulder, Green said it's still bothering him. He's rehabbing the shoulder and said doctors have told him the joint will heal fine without surgery. (I also spoke to someone else close to Green this afternoon who confirmed that the shoulder isn't a major concern and shouldn't be a long-term problem.)

Green also said he enjoyed the Stanley Cup final, even if the games were hard to watch because he was constantly reminded of the Caps' loss to the Pens in Game 7. In case you're wondering, he was rooting for Pittsburgh.

"You do [pull for the Pens] because you don't feel as bad," he said.

I'll have a little more on Green and Alex Ovechkin in Thursday's paper. I was unable to get Ovechkin on the phone today, so I guess I'll have to catch up with him between hands of the celebrity poker tournament he's participating in tomorrow. Who said being a sports writer was easy?

On a loosely related note, I went to see "The Hangover" last night to get me in the right frame of mind for Vegas. Green has already seen the movie and said it's his new favorite flick.

Like myself, Green also hasn't been able to make contact with Ovechkin today. So, naturally, I cracked that Green ought to check the roof of Caesar's Palace for his buddy. (You'll only get this if you've seen the movie.)

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 16, 2009; 6:31 PM ET
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I just got in to Vegas myself, I'll be on green watch, altho the odds of actually seeing him are about as good as me winning $1mill while i'm here. I'm going to check out Ovie at his 2K10 promotion, maybe Greeners will show up. The Palms is all decked out with NHL Awards show posters, and signs already, very cool. hope to see you here Tarik!

Posted by: capsfan387 | June 16, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Any word what "ill" means? Did he have mono or something like that?

Posted by: alagarts | June 16, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

I like Green's attitude, although I couldn't join him in rooting for the Penguins. Tarik, is Ovie's poker game going to be televised?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | June 16, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Green did have mono, even if he declined to say so. (I recall when he was ill in March, Fedorov and Semin were ill around the same time frame.) If my memory is correct, first Feds got sick, then Green, and then Semin. (I still kept hearing rumors of Green still being ill even after he would deny it.)

On the mono front, the news was broken on Feb 2 that Steve Mason had mono (since about 3-4 weeks prior). The Caps did play the Blue Jackets on January 9. By my calculations, Mason must have just come down with the infection around the time the Caps played the Blue Jackets.

Then, on Jan 13, Phil Kessel of the Bruins was announced to have mono. Caps played the Bruins on Jan 17 and Jan 27.

Is there some kind of connection between these cases?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 16, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

C'mon guys, double-secret illness? He obviously caught swine flu from Tyler Kennedy. (I'm sorry, that was mean-spirited and completely unoriginal, I'll stop.) Can't tell anybody there's swine flu in DC, or they'll lock the place down. It'll be like anthrax all over again. ;-P

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | June 16, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I laughed.

Tyler Kennedy is one ugly dude.

CapsFan75, that is some major detective work.

Posted by: richmondphil | June 16, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse


I had recalled the illnesses of Mason and Kessel and figured I'd better look up the details, especially since I recall the Caps playing their teams at that time.

Okay, it was announced that Flash had pneumonia. (But rumors have been posted that he had mono.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 16, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Somebody tell me why the "Washington" Post has not changed the picture in the "Capital" link and still show "Cindy" making love to the cup in front of Bettman. It has been over 3 days and they can't find another picture? Especially one of Boudreau or any other Capitals would do. I will even look at Ted's picture for several days, but PLEASE just change the picture! Me think someone managing the Washington Post online site is a "transplant" Pittsburg fan!

Posted by: JohnWWW | June 16, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, still mad about the Stanley Cup out come!

Posted by: JohnWWW | June 16, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with Green and Ovie in Vegas, but I just read this little factoid in the Bears Weekly Release:

"With his first period goal...Giroux collected his 15th goal of the 2009 Calder Cup playoffs, a new Hershey record for most goals scored in a single postseason....Giroux, with 28 points to go with his 15 goals, fell just four points short of Tomas Fleischmann's club record in a single postseason. Fleischmann notched 32 points in Hershey's 2006 Calder Cup win."

32 points. Can somebody please figure out what happened to that version of Flash? Where has he been the last four years?

Posted by: tess2201 | June 16, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I can't count! That's only 3 years ago.

Posted by: tess2201 | June 16, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Just a thought but why don't we make a run at Alexi Kovalev who is a UFA. He would be a nice addition to pair with Ovie. I know we need some more defensemen too but we definantly need some gritty vets too.

Posted by: capsfan5252 | June 16, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen the hangover, the ending is now ruined.

Posted by: hsk8er6 | June 16, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

@tess2201 - I maintain that this year's Flash had his performance affected by the case of pneumonia he had. I'm looking forward to seeing how he does when he's actually healthy for a full season. He'd started looking better towards the end of the year. I'm sure recovery did take a while, no matter what some people on here might say to deny it.

Posted by: irockthered | June 16, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

@capsfan5252 - The big reason for not going for Kovalev would be his $4M salary hit.

Kozlov's salary was only $2.5M - we know he's gone to Russia. But in order to afford Kovalev, we'd have to offload some more salary. If he's a natural right winger, that might be worth it, but we need a second-line center more...

Posted by: irockthered | June 16, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see Red Birdie's argument for Emery, so I was just commenting on what you wrote (which was a largely unsubstantiated personal opinion). Going by the numbers he is not the best of the three, period. As far as I am concerned his time in the KHL is a moot point - you can't compare what he did there to what other keepers did here ... it's just not the same. So, like I said, we'll have to agree to disagree (with the exception of RedBirdie's gender - if memory serves, he is a she :-)).

Posted by: --Boo-- | June 16, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse


No kidding! Pneumonia is a serious illness. Flash himself did admit that he had trouble regaining his strength.

I wonder how many of our guys had mono. Aside from Green (and possibly Flash), there weren't too many mono rumors floating around. But Semin admitted to being weak before the Tampa game in late March that he missed. And he did miss a game in early-mid February.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 16, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Vegas tomorrow, can't wait. Will try to take pictures and post when I get back. I think I have a ticket to the awards show and am attending Luc Robitaille's function where 100 current/past players will be so hopefully I can get some good ones.

Posted by: ThePat | June 16, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I've had it and it is a kicker! It takes months to really get over and literally takes your breath away. I was surprised how quickly Flash came back. If Green had it then it's amazing that he played at all.

Posted by: --Boo-- | June 16, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse


Was it pneumonia or mono that you had? Neither of those illnesses are much fun. So, we had Green with both a bum shoulder and mono. How the he** did he manage to play? Maybe he should have sat out and rested. Poor guy!

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 16, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse


I didn't know you had time for movies. Get back to work! ;)

Posted by: O-V-P | June 16, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

Now the news is coming out on Pittsburgh's injuries. Letang had a significant injury (unidentified). Gonchar has a partially torn MCL (attributed to Ovi). Then there was Crosby's injury in Game 7 of the SC finals. Of course, there were other injures, mostly undisclosed. (Even so, I think the Caps injury and illness situation sounded worse than the Pens. How many playoff teams have over 60 percent of their defensemen injured at the same time?)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 16, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I actually had both! Pneumonia as a kid, mono as a teenager and pneumonia again as an adult. I was referring to pneumonia in my post but, now that I think about it, mono was not a lot of fun, either. :-/

Posted by: --Boo-- | June 16, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Just wondering, is mono code for knocking up a stripper at camelot and being blackmailed?

Posted by: bestpilotonearth | June 17, 2009 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Ill means drinking too much and staying out all medical illness was involved.

Posted by: CB28031 | June 17, 2009 6:05 AM | Report abuse

CB28031: Yeah that's it genius. Green scored at an unbelievable rate, was 6th best in the league for defenseman at a +24, and is a Norris trophy candidate and you want to throw more unfounded partying rumors out there. A friend of a friend of a friend told me they say Mike Green out partying until 2am before every game during the playoffs. If he has such a huge drinking/partying problem why was he so effective? Quit trying to act like you have some valuable inside information. Even if you saw him a couple of times throughout the season at a bar, cut him a break, he's in his early 20's and hasn't had any run-ins with the law. Give it a rest.

Posted by: fanohock1 | June 17, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

I meant why was he so effective during the season and not the playoffs? He was less effective during the playoffs.

For anyone not at Game 1 against the Rangers friggin' Avery had Mike Green tied up waaaaaaay behind the play and Green went down akwardly. That was just about 5 minutes into the 1st period of Game 1. I would not doubt that Green's shoulder began to give him problems that early in the playoffs. Just my opinion of course.

Posted by: fanohock1 | June 17, 2009 6:45 AM | Report abuse

whos going to be the new asst. coach Woods or Hunter

Posted by: sporttraveler | June 17, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Tigers like pepper, they don't like cinnamon.

Posted by: Section117 | June 17, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey your eyes ....we are talking about the PLAYOFFS not the regular season. He looked like he had snowshoes on during the playoffs!!!! If he was anywhere close to playing like he did in the regular season we could be hoisting the cup!!!

Posted by: CB28031 | June 17, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Feel the love! This is such an uplifting and heart-warming place to come to start the day. A place where Caps fans come together to share their passion and support their team. Like a hot cup of coffee next to a crackling fireplace on a cold, rainy day. Aaaahh!!!

Well good morning! To continue the analogy, your contribution was the little fuzzy critter that you saw scamper by outside the window while drinking that cup of coffee by the fireplace in the cabin on the lake. You have absolutely no idea what it was because it moved so quickly, but somehow you just know it was cute and adorable and you're filled with thoughts of "aawwwhh!" instead of "eeeeekkk!" :-)

Excellent question! I don't know enough about Woods to say (other than his success in Hershey, the fact that he is supposedly defensive minded and that he and Gabby obviously work well together). What do you think? Also, when talking about coaches for the Caps, why doesn't anyone ever talk about Langway? He might be just what the doctor ordered for our young defensive unit!

Posted by: --Boo-- | June 17, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

CB28031: My eyes were open, live and in person at every home game. Was Green on top of his game, heck no. To imply that there was a reason outside of an injury and/or illness is simply rediculous. The ONLY place I see those kind of accusations are is on this message board. In these days of access to players if there was truth to this junk his name would be smeared all over the media.

Posted by: fanohock1 | June 17, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I was there, too, and I have to agree. Frankly, even if he threw one game away because of personal excesses, I can't imagine that he would be stupid enough to let it happen again (or that Gabby would let him). If he was not held back by injury or illness then I would go to choking before partying. I doubt either one of those is the case but, regardless, it's hardly an argument that is worth the energy. Naysayers will always be naysayers ... it's just not worth it to feed the trolls.

Posted by: --Boo-- | June 17, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Woods played defense in the ECHL, AHL and IHL. He never cracked the NHL. I remember him in Tallahassee both as a player and a "coach" during those PR weeks. I would not say he's a good or bad coach based on those PR things as the players are mostly there to draw kids into the program (and parent's bucks as well). But he played good defensive hockey and racked up a mess of points.

Posted by: Greg S. | June 17, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

So does he have your vote?

Posted by: --Boo-- | June 17, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Someone please keep Mike Green away from the tattoo shops at the airport on his flight out! We don't need him getting sick with hepatitis.

Posted by: puckman | June 17, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I'd hate to lose him on the development team in Hershey. Obviously, those kids are doing great down there! Why screw up a good thing?

On the other hand, everybody in the organization knows him. Most of the players played with him in Hershey. Coach B hired him for Hershey. GMGM keeps paying him.

I'm torn.

Posted by: Greg S. | June 17, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

What do you think about sporttraveler's question about Hunter or mine about Langway?

Posted by: --Boo-- | June 17, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but I'm not in favor of Langway as an Assistant. If I had a choice between Woods and Langway, I'd pick Woods in a NY minute.

Hunter would be an interesting Assistant, but he's head coach of the team he owns. Also, if you look at his record, it's an almost perfect bell curve. Between 2001 and 2008 he:

lost in 2nd round
lost in 2nd round
lost in 3rd round
Won the cup
lost in finals
lost in 3rd round
lost in 1st round

Also, he has some personal issues, too. He was arrested a few times for impaired driving, suspended from OHL and was given 3 game misconducts prior to that suspension... Is that what we want?

Posted by: Greg S. | June 17, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Greg S. | June 17, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

That was kinda old, but still fun, no?

Posted by: Greg S. | June 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse


When does the rookie camp start? These budget narratives are deadly dull!

Posted by: Greg S. | June 17, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@CB28031: What proof do you have that it was because he was partying too much the night before some of the games in the Playoffs?

Yeah. You can't actually make that kind of a comment without supporting it other than grabbing that notion out of thin air and then linking it with what your beer-impaired vision saw on your tv or on the ice. Give it a rest, dude. The guy was sick and injured. Try predicting the weather. You'll attract less attention when you're wrong.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | June 17, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Ive had Pneumonia twice and have been out for weeks from it. I was in the hospital the first time for many days. I can only imagine what they went through.

Posted by: Blevinsand3 | June 17, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I agree with a previous post Mike Green just partied too long and hard during the season.Professionals making that kind of money should be more responsible to there organization and there fans.He'll learn the hard way.

Posted by: jp14710 | June 17, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

tess - nothing 'happened' to Flash - it's called the NHL. There's a reason I'm skeptical Giroux will ever replicate those numbers at the NHL level (likewise, Fehr - sorry, Fehr fans). It's just a much quicker league, with a lot less time and space - esp. when you're going against a good team's top 3-4 d-men.

Posted by: govtimbo | June 18, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

In baseball, AAA is filled with guys who can crush it but never stick in the majors. It's harsh, but that's just a fact.

Posted by: govtimbo | June 18, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

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