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Mike Green on watching the Olympics from home: 'My time will come'

Capitals defenseman Mike Green always imagined watching Wednesday's epic Canada-Russia Olympic hockey game from ice level, a red and white jersey on, and his name stitched to the back. But because he was one of the odd men out when the roster for the Canadian Olympic team was announced last month, Green took in his home country's 7-3 triumph over Russia on Wednesday in front of a fireplace while sitting in a La-Z-Boy at the home of goalie Jose Theodore.

Green said he gets enough hockey at work, so he's usually not big into watching it when he gets away from the rink. But Wednesday, with the eight best teams in the world facing off in the Olympic tournament's quarterfinals, there was no alternative to sitting in front of the television for the day.

He watched with mixed emotions, though. With his Olympic dreams having to wait until at least 2014 and the fact that five of his teammates were suiting up for their respective countries Wednesday, Green said he was a little envious.

"I obviously idolize those guys that are out there, wish I was there, but more importantly I just hope Canada wins," he said. "My time will come."

"He's handled it privately but he's been so professional out here," said Coach Bruce Boudreau about Green's reaction to missing the cut for Team Canada. "Mike wants to win a Stanley Cup. ... Paul Coffey never got the recognition until he was in the Hall of Fame of how great he was. Mike's similar, except I think he's better defensively."

Yesterday, though, Green was like most of the Capitals, transforming from professional hockey players to regular fans during the eventful quarterfinal round of the Olympic hockey tournament that saw all five Capitals eliminated from Olympic play. While Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Semyon Varlamov, and the Russians getting trounced by Canada was the big story, Tomas Fleischmann and the Czech Republic were upset, 2-0, by Finland, and Nicklas Backstrom and the defending champion Swedes fell to Slovakia, 4-3.

Forward Jason Chimera watched it all from his couch, and while he came away surprised that goaltenders Jaroslav Halak of Slovakia and Finland's Miika Kiprusoff were able to pull off upsets, his lasting impression was from the Canada-Russia matchup.

"There was some playmaking that I haven't seen before, so it was pretty fun to watch," said Chimera. "Being a Canadian, I was pretty proud to watch those guys do so well. But if you look at the other side, it sucks for your teammates to lose. ... Sometimes a goalie in those tournaments can steal the show."

Boudreau has not spoken to any of his players in Vancouver, but did send them all a text message yesterday. He expects them to be back at practice Sunday.

The looming question, though, is whether coming home earlier than expected will help or hurt the Capitals. While their five players return healthy, they also come back with a huge disappointment hanging over their shoulders.

Most at practice wanted to know how it would specifically affect captain Alex Ovechkin.

"There's nobody in sport that has as much pride as Alex does and as much love his country," Boudreau said. "It's a pretty big torch to bear when the whole country is looking at him as the leader and they didn't, as a team, come through. And I'm sure Alex feels the brunt of it, whether it's warranted or not."

"I know how passionate he is about Russia because we always get into it about Canada and Russia," forward Brooks Laich said. "It dates back to World Juniors playing against him, so he's very passionate about playing for his country. Obviously you've seen his comments about playing in the Sochi Olympics even when it hasn't been decided if NHL players are gonna play or not. Hopefully he comes back motivated. I would have liked to have seen him do well, still happy that he was on the Olympic team -- it's a great experience for him. But we'll be glad to get him back healthy and rested."

As for the others, "It's one of those speculations: Will it deflate them, will it inspire them, and I don't know the answer," Boudreau said. "Alex [Ovechkin] ... and Nicky, in a quiet, driven way, are more of an 'Okay, now I'm mad,' type thing: 'I want that glory.' Semin's harder to read and [Fleischmann's] harder to read. [Fleischmann] is very passionate but very quiet. But I know from times I've been with Tomas, that he would have been a very emotional guy last night, I think. But I think he'll be fine, though."

Notes from Practice

*Boudreau put the 17 players in attendance through a tough skate, doing more sprints at the end of practice than I've seen since training camp. Goalie Michal Neuvirth took part but was not on the ice for the end of practice. Boudreau expects him to skate fully tomorrow. Neuvirth has been nursing an unspecified "minor" injury. Boudreau also said goalie Semyon Varlamov might be back at practice as early as tomorrow, sooner than the rest of the team's Olympians. Chimera made it through all of practice today, but said he "wasn't going full out."

*Boudreau also answered a question from Comcast's Corey Masisak about Green's weight issues from last year's playoffs. Neither Green nor Boudreau have spoken much on the record about what caused the star defenseman's somewhat mysterious dropoff during last year's playoffs, but the coach had some interesting things to say about Green learning from his mistakes.

"We've checked him as we've checked everybody, and his weight is perfect," Boudreau said. "One great thing when you're young and if you're smart [is that] you learn from your mistakes, and Mike has been like that all along. He started out the same way as he started out in Hershey, as a young guy that really could skate but wasn't a great power play guy, wasn't great in a lot of situations. But he's learned and he's gotten better and now he's as good as there is.

"I think it's the same way off the ice, it's the same way when you don't have a lot of money and you make a lot of money," he continued. "You live in that home and then you're living on your own, you're gonna make mistakes, but the smart ones learn from those mistakes and Mike's a smart one."

*Boudreau was just dishing out the one-liners today. Here's what he had to say about his own viewing experience when Ovechkin left the ice after getting struck in the hand by a puck in the third period: "It stopped, it didn't skip a beat," Boudreau said of his heart. "I called my wife, 'Get in here, Ovie's hurt.' Then when he moved his hand like this [flexes fist] on the bench, it was 'OK, everything's OK.'"

He then went on to defend Alex Semin's cotroversial hit on defenseman Dan Boyle late in the third period of that Canada-Russia game. Boyle responded by slew-footing Semin.

"It was a good check and if this were the NHL he wouldn't have gotten a penalty and Boyle would have gotten a three-game suspension," said Boudreau. "But it was on a Cap guy, so maybe nothing will happen."

*One person who wasn't watching Olympic hockey yesterday was defenseman Tom Poti. When I walked by his stall, Poti and neighbor Brian Pothier were discussing the controversial disqualification of a South Korean short-track speedskater that allowed the Americans to win bronze in the 3,000-meter relay.

"We see enough hockey," Poti said, adding that curling is his favorite Olympic sport to watch because of the strategy involved.

"The Olympics are my favorite; I love it, not necessarily the hockey, though," said Pothier. "I like the hockey part of it, but it's all the other stuff that I don't get to normally see that I enjoy watching more."

By Mark Giannotto  |  February 25, 2010; 3:01 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Olympic roundup: U.S. advances; Russia falls
Next: Cam Janssen gets five games (updated)


I think all Caps fans hearts stopped beating at the same time when OV hurt his hand. I know I didn't breathe until he moved the hand and his fingers!

Come on OV!!! You are not responsible for a bad game! Lets go win a Cup now!!!

Posted by: capscoach | February 25, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Winning wouldnt be so great if you didnt feel loss along the way.

Our boys will bounce back..this is our year...

Posted by: SA-Town | February 25, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

isn't Dan Boyle the D man canada took instead of Mike Green? i guess canada know they wouldnt be able to get world class slewfooting like that from Green. too bad we wont see the Sharks til next season... they wont be making it the finals

Posted by: heathdog1119 | February 25, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

no the mysterious player canada took instead of mike green would be brent seabrook...still have no idea why he is on the team

Posted by: _stevo | February 25, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I think the 7th defenseman chosen was Doughty instead of Green. You can't fault Canada for chossing Doughty because he may be their best defenseman so far this tournament.

Boyle, Pronger, and Seabrook are looking like questionable picks but their was little to no argument that Pronger and Boyle were going to make it and most assumed Seabrook would make it too.

Posted by: sgm3 | February 25, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

ok thanks ..kind of glad Green didnt make team Canada .wouldnt want to have to root against a Cap its all aboot A B C Anybody But Canada

Posted by: heathdog1119 | February 25, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, Paul Coffey got plenty of recognition for his abilities throughout his career.

Posted by: LesGrossman | February 25, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Reported in Sports Illustrated "Truth & Rumors" this morning:

The Washington Nationals may have actually won something. Red Sox owner John Henry said that January's NHL Winter Classic did a number on the Fenway Park field, but there is also rumbling that Washington will be the host of the next classic. Chicago's Wrigley Field has also previously opened its field to the puckheads.
The Boston Globe

Posted by: timmy6 | February 25, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

So Tom Poti likes Curling? Lately, he's been playing like a curler. Not a good thing.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | February 25, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Tell me when they announced which Caps (at the time) were going to the Olympics, which of you said, "JUrcina will be the last man standing."

Not me.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 25, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Enough already with Green not on olympic
team. Have you seen how rough these games have been? He would have been killed out there. Even with all his offensive talent, he is a bit of a wuss which is probably why he is watching instead of playing. He would have been steamrolled in that U.S.A. game and missed some cap games, so be thankful he's home resting.

Posted by: buddy120 | February 25, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

GMGM has a fist full of days to make the moves that get the Caps the Cup. do it, GMGM

Posted by: doughless | February 25, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

this is something you can legitimately ridicule the Canadians for, not like the most of the stuff that you hear on here everyday

Posted by: joek443 | February 25, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik, what's the deal on green losing weight last playoffs? What was the unspoken exchange there?

Posted by: Puckthepens | February 25, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: onez00 | February 25, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Ovie, that's not cool. She's just a fan, let her take her picture and keep walking.

Posted by: noreaster1 | February 25, 2010 10:24 PM | Report abuse

@joek443: that link took me to an article about Vonn and Mancusco. Is that what you intended?

And the 22 second youtube about Ovi not wanting his picture/video taken? Give me a break. The guy gets MOBBED everywhere he goes. He needs to be able to just walk somewhere once in a while.

I'm proud of Greenie for his attitude. I'm proud of all the Caps who participated in the Olympics and those who didn't. It feels great that they are coming home to practice and to play again.

Good luck to Team USA in the Olympics, but let's get it over with, already!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | February 26, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully now Green is rested and ready to kick some @55 in the postseason.

Posted by: futbolclif | February 26, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

the Caps need a second center behind Backstrom with playoff experience and a veteran blueliner that can take the body.

two years ago the club came up with Huet, Fedorov and Cooke without giving up too much.

McPhee needs to pull it off again.

The Penguins did it last year with Guerin and Kunitz.

They provided just the toughness that a soft Penguins team needed up front.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 26, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Why no pointless Steinberg column about Ovie acting like a classless sore loser and pushing the female Russian fan with a camera?

And please...I'm sure a hockey player isn't "MOBBED" by paparazzi like Britney Spears or Brad Pitt.

If you want to be a star athlete and one of the faces of a pro league, you must be prepared for the attention you will receive and actually deal with the media whether you win or lose.

I know if certain other prominent NHL players were to act in a similar fashion, there would be outrage and hate spewed by those who normally post on this very website.

Go USA!!!

Posted by: LonnieBeale1 | February 26, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for discussing the Boyle cheap attack on Semin. Agree with Coach that in an NHL game that Semin would not have been penalized and Boyle would have drawn a multi-game suspension.

Does anyone know why International Hockey Federation goes out of its way to protect players (face shields required for nearly all players and players must leave the ice or replace their helmets during play if it is dislodged)and allows a clear - from behind, intentional dangerous slewfoot to go unpunished. Would punishment have been doled out if the player was not a Canadian, on home ice, late in a rout game? Or am I just being a Cap homer?

Posted by: SadHoo | February 26, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Canada didn't miss Mike Green one bit when they played those "world-class" Russians.

Face it, Green wasn't on the roster because they wanted players who excelled defensively and decided to go with Boyle over Green because he's got a better track record of playing harder in his own end.

Green, instead of pouting about it, should take it as a giant wakeup call that fans outside of DC don't get all wrapped up in his offensive numbers while ignoring his defensive deficiencies. He's not awful defensively anymore, but he's a high risk player. And I don't think the Canadian team management wanted to have a high risk high reward player on defense. And they proved that skill can be defeated if you wear down the opposition the way they mangled that Russian team. Even when the score was 7-3 the mighty Russians had a hard time exiting their zone because of the pressure the Canadian fwds put on their defense. Until the Russians match the Canadian work ethic, they'll continue to have problems.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 26, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The Penguins did it last year with Guerin and Kunitz.

They provided just the toughness that a soft Penguins team needed up front.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 26, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Kunitz was a dynamite pickup. And even when he wasn't putting up points he was contributing with his forecheck and his ornery play. He and Matt Cooke were like buzzsaws out there. I doubt McPhee will go after that kind of player this year. But I expect to see a center and defenseman added at the deadline. For my money, I'd rather have more than a rental player though. Which is why I wish we had re-signed Matt Cooke because he brought a lot of spunk, energy, good PKing and timely scoring to our team during his short tenure. To watch him throw his little body around with reckless abandon against the Flyers was a joy to watch.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 26, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

All this criticism of Mike Green's defencive capabilities, when he's fourth in the league (behind three other Caps) in +/-, so obviously the league leading defenceman in that very telling stat.

Posted by: jcleggette | February 26, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

All this criticism of Mike Green's defencive capabilities, when he's fourth in the league (behind three other Caps) in +/-, so obviously the league leading defenceman in that very telling stat.

Posted by: jcleggette | February 26, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

You're right, Stevie Yzerman obviously knows nothing about hockey.

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 26, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

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