Green: 'I Have a Great Feeling About This Year'
Here are Mike Green's comments to reporters from Saturday's media day.
What have you learned about how to prepare yourself for the 82-game season and then a long playoff run?
It's a long season. You get beat up; you've got to take care of your body. This year I'm well aware of what I need to do to make sure that I'm the best I can be for the team and that I'm focused throughout the whole year. I think you'll see a big change.
Are you in better shape because of the Team Canada camp?
I think I'd be in better shape if I didn't have that camp, because I missed a week of training. But that camp was good for me to get on the ice and get my feel back right away here. The season starts quicker this year because of the Olympics, so I've got to be ready to play rather than worrying about other things.
How do you think you did at Team Canada's camp?
It wasn't that hard, it wasn't that intense. It was a lot of info. I had to absorb it all and make sure I know it all in case I'm on the team in December.
What do you think about the addition of Mike Knuble?
I think he's going to be a great net-presence guy. I've been watching him out here in practice and the pucks he bangs in in front, maybe a rookie or whatever wouldn't find those pucks. He's just an old veteran who knows what he's doing and we need a guy like that.
He's solid. I ran into him too, and he's not easy to move. It's good that we have a guy like that because all of us shoot the puck.
How have you grown as a defensemen since you came into the league and how will you continue to grow this year?
When you play you gain that experience and you learn that much more. Last year was no different for me and a lot of the other guys. For this year, I think if we take it day by day and not look too far ahead and make sure we're doing the right things day-to-day. Time comes in the playoffs where you don't have that much time so you've got to make sure that you're mentally prepared.
What is the identity of the Washington Capitals?
It's a hardworking team that loves to play the game. We have a lot of young guys that are passionate about playing and each other and that's what wins championships. Camaraderie, that's what the Washington Capitals are all about. There might be media [attention] around certain guys, but at the end of the day, we're a team.
Are you approaching these first 20 games of the NHL season as an opportunity to impress the Team Canada brass?
I'm trying not to worry about it too much. I feel like if I do, it will affect my play. I'll probably get asked a million times about the Olympics, but I'm worried about my team right now and my team is what's most important. That's what's going to help me get a chance. As long as I commit myself now for the next couple months, you never know, I might get a chance to be there. I hope I'm there because as a kid, even now I want to be there, but I'm not going to dwell on it or anything like that. I'm concentrating on the Washington Capitals.
Did the Team Canada officials tell you anything when you left camp?
They give you tips and tell you that they're going to be evaluating you for the first half. They probably have their team picked, they're just waiting on a couple other guys to see how they do. I'm sure I'm one of those guys.
Bruce Boudreau said he thought you were unfairly scrutinized in the playoffs. Does that give you any extra motivation?
When you don't perform up to your abilities, you should be [scrutinized]. The way things went in the regular season compared to the playoffs, I was asking myself the same questions. You live and you learn and you move on, as a player, as a person, you just make sure you don't make the same mistakes.
How did the injuries impact you in the playoffs?
I think my overall body was real beat up and it's tough, but you can't make excuses. A lot of guys are beat up and playing with injuries. You've just got to make sure you play to the best of your abilities. I tried. It wasn't as good as I wanted it to [be], but it's in the past so I'm really not worried about it anymore. I'm ready to move on. I'm worried about this year's Cup.
At the Team Canada camp did you take the opportunity to enjoy being around guys like Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger?
Niedermayer was my favorite player growing up. Pronger I don't like so much because he hit me last year, so there's a little bit of controversy there. I played on Niedermayer's team, I got a chance to talk to him. It's funny because when I was really young -- I was like 14 years old -- an agent was trying to get me and they took me to his cabin. I didn't know if he remembered or not so I asked him. He didn't remember.
Did you hear that George McPhee was so excited about camp he couldn't sleep last night?
We all feel like that. You never know how the season's going to turn out but as long as we stay positive, we've got the right management, coaches, right players coming in now that we're ready. I have a great feeling about this year.
What do you think about this being the first year ever that every Capitals game will be sold out?
I think that's great for this organization, Ted Leonsis, George, the guys that have been here for a long time have been through the times that were tough. Finally to see this city, I've only been here 3 or 4 years, I was here when it was not so good -- to to see it the way it is now is pretty special.
What will it be like to have Bob Woods as a coach with the Capitals?
He's a younger guy himself that played at a high level and won Cups. He knows what it's all about. For myself he's much like Bruce: He lets you play, and not only that, he doesn't dwell on things or anything like that. He teaches you and he's like your friend, almost, and I think that's very important with a coach because you respect him that much more.
September 12, 2009; 1:55 PM ET
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