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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.

By Katie Carrera  |  September 12, 2009; 1:55 PM ET
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Next: Morrison and Knuble are Ready to Start the Season as Caps


@Katie & company:

Keep up the great work! I love getting my Caps fix with you guys. Cannot wait for the season to start.

Go Caps!

Posted by: crooks_c | September 12, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I love seeing our players get the honor of being on their national teams, but does anyone else worry about a Jeff Halpern-like incident? Olympic play isn't quite as aggressive and physical, but I still worry about injuries.

Posted by: nicko | September 12, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I personally wish the NHL would stay out of the Olympics. Give the up-and-coming players a chance to show what they can do and keep the pros on the ice, in the league on the NHL schedule, where they belong. The extra games, wear-and-tear on the players and potential injuries are not great trade offs. No matter what Ovie says (about 2014), let this be the last year that the NHL participates in Olympics. It's not worth the additional effort, plus it hurts the momentum a team has going into that break.

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | September 12, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

OFF SUBJECT -- Heatley headed to San Jose in return for Chechoo, Michalek and a pick

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | September 12, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The Olympics are going to be incredibly great for hockey fans. I hope several Caps get to participate, including Green. The Caps style of play lends itself well the Olympic style.

Posted by: zmega | September 12, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

On the Olympics, go ahead and do it this year. Also, let them do it in Russia in 2014, to keep international relations good. After that, return it to the amateurs. But, of course, every country will have to agree to do that.

Pros were allowed since many countries (including Russia) were using de-facto pro athletes in the Olympics.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 12, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

from the semin post:
Semin is now the 6th Capital who has commented on how much Brashear may be missed. You listenin McPhee? Your own players don't agree with your newfound philosophy on going the "Detroit" way.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 12, 2009 1:02 PM

not having brash will (ok, should) make some of these guys realize they need to stand up for themselves instead of relying on someone else. maybe the 6 you mention are ones that would prefer a teammate be the physical one.
it possible that brash leaving will actually make this team a little tougher

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 12, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Well, we all know that Sems can bring the beatdown when he has to. I think that's what I read in between the lines from his interview. "Sure, Brash is gone, but Caps still have the bongos!" :)

Posted by: Puckdawg69 | September 12, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Capt_Kirk. That's how Detroit and a couple of other teams get away with not having an enforcer - everyone on the team sticks up for everyone else. Enforcing works better when the gloves drop AT the infraction - right then and there - and if you don't have your enforcer on the ice, it does you no good. Better to have it dealt with swiftly and immediately.

Besides, Brash didn't drop often enough to be an effective deterrent and lost his share of fights last year when he did. I'd rather have guys like Bruess or Carlson who can drop 'em but can score too.

Posted by: kittypawz | September 12, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

not having brash will (ok, should) make some of these guys realize they need to stand up for themselves instead of relying on someone else. maybe the 6 you mention are ones that would prefer a teammate be the physical one.
it possible that brash leaving will actually make this team a little tougher

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 12, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think so. Having Brash IN the lineup makes everyone more confident and therefore play a little bigger than they are, a little tougher than they are. That's the value of having a real heavy in the lineup. It not only offers some protection and some deterrence, but it makes the rest of the team rise up a bit and play more hardnosed.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 12, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the take here on Semin's comments re: Brash. Whenever a player is asked about a former teammate, unless it's a guy like Sean Avery, they say nice things. Would you expect Semin to say, "We won't miss him a bit." No, it's like when they ask you about your ex-employer. You may think, "Treated me like crap...gave the idiots the promotions...was underpaid," but instead you smile and say, "It was a wonderful learning experience." The guys like Brash and respect hi. The only one whose comments really said they were apprehensive were Gordo's. Otherwise, it was typical ex-teammate stuff. I honestly feel we got guys who can give would Brash would've given this year. Forget what Brash did 2-3 years ago, he's not that same player anymore.

Posted by: tominfl1 | September 12, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Per the enforcer issue, on which I feel relatively neutral, I like what GMGM had to say: "We like what we have now, and if we need that element, we'll go get it. ... We're reluctant to pay a lot for that position right now."
Money is tight and I do feel strongly about ensuring we keep Backstrom and Semin.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 12, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

And have enough to sign before playoffs a veteran d'man--about which so many of you get your "panties-in-a-twist".

Management has to make some tough choices and leave enough in the bank for flexibility in the future. As much as I liked Brash, both on and off the ice, we really couldn't have paid him what the Rangers did.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 12, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

i completely understand the point you're making - i just think (hope) that the team will now take it upon themselves to 'not get pushed around' and stand up for each other instead of waiting for the heavyweight to take the ice.
if a majority of the players feel like they don't have the 'protection' they have last year, then they could actually be more timid on the ice. i do believe they have some tougher players on the team that will now feel it is their responsibility to fill brashes skates. i think i'd rather have 5 or 6 guys (that maybe can't fight) who can stand up for their teammates instead of just one - in my opinion everyone on the team (except bradley) last year left the tough guy stuff to brash. if they respond like i think they will - most here will enjoy the extra physical play of those that take it up a notch

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 12, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I also think that tominfl1 is right when he says that this is all typical ex-teammate talk. You don't badmouth ex-teammates when they move on, usually, and I think that everyone liked and respected Brash. GMGM said in today's media scrum that if they find they need an enforcer, they'll go out and get one, but right now, they don't think they need one, and they do need the talented guys, because you'll note that enforcers don't play in big key games. The focus on the playoffs and what is needed for the playoffs should actually make some of you guys happy, come to think of it.

Posted by: kittypawz | September 12, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

The full video interview with Ovie is at the alexovetjin.blogspot. It' good. I like to get quotes in context.

Ovie's comments should relieve posters who are concerned with his many media appearances and his Olympic statements.

Appearances--he likes to get them done before camp so as to not distract from hockey. Everything else. Well Ovie wants it all--the gold medal, the Art Ross, and especially the Stanley Cup.

He even wants just to be a better player. Scary when one considers just how good he is now.

Yeah--this is really going to be a good year--hopefully THE YEAR!

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | September 12, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Interesting comment about Pronger. Green is open about his grudge.

Posted by: tmac2yao | September 12, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse


Answer this if you would: do you think Brash is worth the 1.4M a year that the Rangers are paying him?


It'll be interesting to see if our guys make a point to hit Pronger in a big way the first time we see the Flyers.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 12, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Heatley finally traded. For a 2nd Cheechoo and Michalak.

Why is Green saying there is controversy? Pronger checked you cleanly into the boards. He is in the East now, you should really afford talking about him.

Posted by: richmondphil | September 12, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

People are quickly forgetting we have Sugden in the A to call up when we play tougher teams. I really don't see the problem anymore.

Posted by: richmondphil | September 12, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Brash and Feds were welcome and respected and unaffordable. Ask anyone, including Semin.
Green would sound silly saying he likes Pronger, is all. Maybe controversy can exist between two people in Alberta?

Posted by: redlineblue | September 12, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Green would sound silly saying he likes Pronger, is all. Maybe controversy can exist between two people in Alberta?

Posted by: redlineblue | September 12, 2009 8:45 PM |

Oh. So he doesn't sound silly saying he likes Neids, but it's silly for him to say he likes Pronger? It just seemed like a bad choice of words. Controversy...really?

Posted by: richmondphil | September 12, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

If you WATCH the Green interview on the Caps site, you'll see him smiling slightly when he makes the comment about not liking Pronger. I think he's trying to make a joke of it but that doesn't come through in the written word. You have to see his facial expression to get it.

Posted by: tess2201 | September 12, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Tess brings up a good point. All interviews are on the Caps website if anyone wants to watch them.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 12, 2009 11:54 PM | Report abuse

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