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Mike Green Takes Lead

With his OT winner last night against the Rangers, 22-year-old defenseman Mike Green has taken the league lead in goals among defensemen with eight. Since Bruce Boudreau stepped behind the bench, he's got five tallies, a plus-8 rating and ice-time more befitting of his talent level (he skated a career high 30 minutes vs. New York).

Green still has some work to do in his own zone, but if he keeps scoring like this, he's going to land himself a big contract. His entry-level pact pays him $850,000 this season and expires in July.

What's Green's next contract going to pay him? Three million per? Four million? More? The Caps, in my opinion, would be well-served to get a deal done sooner rather than later -- because his price tag is only going to go up.

I'm planning to write a little more about Green's breakout season for tomorrow's paper.

Practice doesn't start until 12, and it's at Verizon Center, so it's closed to the public. I'll provide some updates from out there.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 13, 2007; 10:28 AM ET
 
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Next: Boudreau Makes Changes

Comments

Green has not been making too many mistakes in his own end. I am really excited by BB's willingness to let Green pinch in on offense from time to time and Green has been doing a good job of picking the right times to do so.

Posted by: Brandon | December 13, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

It's great to see Green grow in the sport and become what he is today. It's only going to get better.

Posted by: Ffx, VA | December 13, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Tarik,

What do you think the chances are of the Caps unloading Eminger? He hasn't played much this season, and to be honest he hasn't really proved his worth. And if he is traded do you think we will get an actual player or will GMGM trade him for another prospect?

Just wanting your opinion.

Posted by: pstylee | December 13, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Did Ovechkin teach Green to celebrate goals by jumping on the glass? :)

Posted by: Finn | December 13, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Dose any one know why the practice is at Verizon Center today? Where is practice next Wensday? thanks

Posted by: KolzigfanfromBean | December 13, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I want to say, as someone who has busted on both "Say-it Ain't So" Motzko and Pillowhead Shultz, they played ok last night. They contributed offensively, and kept their wheels burning with the Caps down. Schultz didn't hit anyone (that I saw) so he still needs to master that whole defense thing. Motzko prospered because BB put him on the 3rd or 4th line, where he belongs, not on the top line.

I like what I'm seeing so far. Two straight games against teams that have done well against the Caps, we've fallen behind, and fought back to actually win. This what they are this year, and what they should have been from the start, a gritty team that will fight till the end. They are not a Stanely Cup contender, but they should make the playoffs. (outside, VERY outside this season.) If they had been playing like this from the start, we fans would have been much more satisfied.

Go team!

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

i wonder what a long term big money deal would do to green? as inclined as i am to say we should lock him up now, i worry it might take some of the hunger away if all of a sudden he's set for like. who knows? he is definitely coming into his own. that jump-over-step-around deke at the end of regulation was one of the prettiest moves i've ever seen. kid has super star level skills.

Posted by: pgreene | December 13, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Green has come miles and miles in his development since last season, and one would imagine that he still has a good ways to go. He'll get there, and and when he does, he'll be sharing the highlight reel with AO, Semin, and Backstrom.

I've always felt that the kid was going to be something big, I'm just pleasantly surprised at how quickly it seems to be happening. BB really seems to bring out the best in him, as he does with many players. GMGM needs to lock him up for a good long time. Talent like his doesn't come along often.

He's still young though...

$2-$2.5 million, with significant performance bonuses up to $3-$3.5 sounds about right to me.

Posted by: HolyOlie | December 13, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Ryan Whitney's 6 year $24M is the most direct comp; great to see the young guys coming along - Green looking like a young Iafrate (total package of skating, scoring and hitting, hopefully not as much of a headcase; more defensive than Murphy/Gonchar and not as soft as Hatcher) and Backstrom with the puck-handling and patience of a young Gus.

Posted by: p w maruk | December 13, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Green is listed as "Hot" in TSN.CA finally. He's being noticed by everyone now. His price will rightly go up. A nice deal now would be good.

30 minutes. A regular Iron Man!

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you.
As a Schultz basher & Motsko masher...
I just want to let everyone know, I prefer my crow with gravy & potatoes.

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

For what it's worth.
Larry Brooks is 'reporting' (I use that loosely because writing with crayons isn't really reporting) Nylander is suffering from a rotator cuff injury.

Posted by: slappy | December 13, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Just to change the subject Tarik...what do you think about Nylander's rotator cuff injury? Why such a secret? Seems like the NY Post found out about it pretty easily.
Thanks.

Posted by: kenhockey | December 13, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Who is the fake Lee?

The real Lee (me) eats his crow fried, and refers to himself in the 3rd person!

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Now if the team could only get a defenseman who can, you know, play defense.

Posted by: zamboni | December 13, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

On Motzko. He's OK on 3rd or 4th line as a fill in. Yes, he got 2 goals last night. Still, he's primarilly an AHL'er. He's played enough to have his name on le cuppe, but that doesn't make him a true NHL player.

Same with Liang. Loved what he's done filling in, blocking shots, laying hits and being a general nuisance.

Schultz is still a wuss.

Just because they've had hot nights doesn't mean that they're suddenly good. Just like if AO hits a cold streak he's suddenly lousy.

I'll eat crow when I have to. I just don't think I do just yet.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The team has been playing better defensively, not great but good enough to win. Other than last nights game the defense has held to 2 goals or less for the majority of the games (NJD got two late meaningless goals)

Work in progress.
Plus, everyone was yelling "They are too defensive/cautious" now it's "there isn't enough defense" LOL

It's alwya sgoing to be something.
I'm just glad all 4 lines are being used regularly (even 87 is playing ok), and they are scoring more than 2 goals a game now.

Posted by: CantMissKid | December 13, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

so wait, let me get this straight. GMGM signs Semin to the big deal before he becomes a RFA, but not Ovechkin, Green, Gordon and Morrisonn? What a JOKE!

Posted by: sean | December 13, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The move that almost won it in regulation was sick. Great that he and Brooks teamed on the winner (amlong with the, ahem, ice).

Posted by: CapsFan | December 13, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sold on Green completely. Yes, he is showing some great potential. Keep in mind, he was sent down to Hershey just after last year's All-Star game. Management needs to lock in Ovechkin and then worry about Green.

Posted by: AZR | December 13, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I don't like to say I told you so, but I will. I proclaimed last year if the Caps get off to a slow start, that BB would replace Hanlon. During the losing streak, I wanted BB to lead this team and some people said, and I won't mention any names, that they wanted Pat Quin, and some other experienced coaches to replace Hanlon. Some of you were saying to leave BB in the AHL because you wanted a sexier name. BB coached half these guys, and knows the system more than any outsider would. I know it is early, but I knew BB would jump start this team. I go to a lot of Hershey Bear games and he knows what he is doing. McPhee better not even think about another coach. Give BB time, look what he had done in under ten games.

Posted by: Pete Peeters | December 13, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

AZR-I agree with you but I think Green being sent down last year also was because of CBA issues, technicalities. But no matter-he looks great, but he is only 22 and has alot to learn.

Posted by: dave | December 13, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Great game. On a different topic my friends and I thought it was unusually warm in the arena last night. And sure enough from our seats in 103, row K we could see puddles of water on the ice not long after the zamboni's left. I mean these were significant puddles of water. I think the big problem is they need to turn the air in the arena down to at least 55 degrees or so, that was the warmest I have ever felt it in the phone booth, and it showed on the ice.

Posted by: kthhken | December 13, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Hearing him behind us, 'Keep your heads up,' and 'We need to get two goals' - that was the bottom line," said Green, who had three goals in 92 career NHL games before this season. "We just had faith we were going to win the game, and good things happen when you have faith."

Posted by: Green Trees | December 13, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Great game by the caps lastnight. Terrible game by Poti though. He really stood out on a negative note. All in all it was a fun game to watch up here in Canada. SHOOT! I wish I lived in the DC area. I am surrounded by idiot Leaf fans!!! Please help!! Well.......7-1 wins sure help.

Posted by: Brad | December 13, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@Sean: Late to the party? :)

And now that he's signed, he's looking pretty listless out there on the ice. He's showing some quick flashes of his old brilliance but for the most part he's moseying around.

Posted by: keef | December 13, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Finally, the Caps are getting solid efforts from everyone and not just Ovie. In my opinion, Ted needs to be generous for Christmas and give Ovie and Green new, high priced contracts to ensure they are in Washington for a while. Watching Green mature the past three years has been awesome. Seeing Motzko score last night was great, especially his second goal. Brashear played one of his best games last night. I'm stunned with Jeff Schultz's goal scoring streak. Who would have thought this kid would spout off 3 goals in 3 consecutive games? Overall, last night was an exciting game to watch and I hope tomorrows game vs. Buffalo is more exciting.

Posted by: Mitch | December 13, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

OK; so now the question that hasn't been asked: What more does coach BB (Boudreau's Boys) need to do to have the "interim" removed from his title?

Last night's game was proof that these guys can best the leaders in their conference - all in the same week! The OT thriller was one to remember, just as exciting as Eric Fehr's game winning goal against Portland, then on to win the AHL title in 2006.

Two thoughts for posters to hang in the Caps locker room:

UNLEASH THE FURY! and BELEIVE

Posted by: dogdaze | December 13, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@Mitch: I'm not sure how it could be MORE exciting!

Posted by: keef | December 13, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

AZR- Green was sent down after the all star game because the Caps at that point were out of playoff contention due to injuries, illnesses, etc. They sent Green down so he could help Hershey during their playoff run. There could have been issues with the CBA, etc., but I believe the main issue was for him to get down there and ensure Hershey had a good playoff run.

By the Way....if they call Fleischmann Flash, why the hell is he so slow? He got beat to several pucks last night because of no speed....I find that interesting.

Posted by: Mitch | December 13, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Let me clarify something: I was only saying Motzco and Shultz had a good GAME. I'm giving credit where credit is due. I still think my 9 year old daughter hits harder than Shultz, and Motzko is a career AHLer. I'm not eating any crow. Yet.

Go team

Posted by: Lee | December 13, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Always nice to beat a NY team!!! And if I remember right, someone was bashing the brasher yesturday on here....I think someone needs to appologize for it cuz Brasher played some good gritty hockey last night and got rewarded with 2 assists! Lets hope they can continue with this improved play and take it into the upcoming games against the east. Time to catch up to the others!

Posted by: Charlie G | December 13, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Lee....if you piss any 9 year old off and get their blood boiling their likely to hit harder then say Scott Stevens or anyone else. But I agree, Schultz could use some hitting lessons. He took a good shot last night in the second period behind the net.

Posted by: Mitch | December 13, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"Who is the fake Lee?

The real Lee (me) eats his crow fried, and refers to himself in the 3rd person"

Sorry Lee...that was me.
The post was supposed to be directed toward you...
not AS you...

But I stayed up late last night watching the game on Tivo, cut me some slack.
;-D

Posted by: pmoravek | December 13, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@Lee

How good is she on skates?

Posted by: Greg S. | December 13, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

How can anybody say that Schultz played well last night? He was on the ice for almost every Ranger goal. I honestly belive he is the worst defenseman in the league.

And sign Green immediately! He is going to be a superstar. I think he deserves an all-star spot this year.

Posted by: SCHULTZ SUCKS | December 13, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Who cares about Green's contract!!!

If they dont sign Ovechkin, Whats the point? Pay him $1 more then Crosby, and get it done!

Posted by: Ron Burgandy | December 13, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

AZR - i'm not sure what else green can do to convince you he's the real deal. nobody is going to confuse his defense w/ rod langway but he is about as slick an offensive defensman as we have seen around here since larry "whoop whoop" murphy. i dont see a ton of hockey outside of the caps, but i haven't seen a d man handle the puck up the ice like him. he should have had the gwg in regulation with the silly move around shanny. i wrote him in for the all star game...

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 13, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

VOTE FOR GREEN!!!!

If we Caps fans start stuffing the ballot box, Greeny could even start in the All-Star game! Hopefully OV will be a starter too!

Posted by: Matt | December 13, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

great game by the caps last night!!!! i was really surprised that they didn't fold like a lawn chair after going to by two goals. i also liked how bb was getting the team pumped up after the 2nd rags goal. great overall effort by them team...

i can't believe how well brash played last night, incredible. this has been a different team since bb took over, hopefully we can keep this streak a live a few more games and climb our way up the standings.

i agree with those that said need to throw a contract green's way, but not before we lock up ovey, he's the building block of our team....

on a separate note, green's goal in ot was #1 on sports center top 10 plays.

GO CAPS!!!!

Posted by: whiteboy | December 13, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Motzko can gain some confidence from last night, we need a gritty goal scorer, especially down low.
And Kudos to Brash for playing tough hockey, and staying out of the box!

Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 13, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Green's OT goal was nice but had his shot gone in at the end of the game the sequence of moves coupled with a goal would have gone down as one of the best ever and been spoken in the same vein as AO's on his backside spin-a-rama goal against Phoenix. My only criticism of Green is his inability to get shots to the net in traffic. The big slap shot that misses the net or hits the goalie in the crest or gets blocked in front is ineffective. Wrist shots or snap shots through screens are more easily tipped and cause more rebounds and greater scoring chances. Sometimes it's better to lose the big windup sometimes not it depends on the situation and he'll learn. He's coming along nicely though. Niedermeyer, schniedelmeyer-there's a new sheriff in town.

Posted by: DarrylHockey | December 13, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Green is the real deal. We need to lock him in for the long term.

Posted by: Steve R | December 13, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

1) Green will continue to improve. Lock him up before the end of the season with an incentive laden contract so that we get the best deal we can. He appears to be the real deal. Clearly he's on a bit of a hot streak, and is benefiting from BB's presence, but over the course of the season he should put up more than 40 points for us. My one concern is that he doesn't have more assists. Most of the top d-men who produce year in and year out are guys who are also great set-up men. I hope to see more of this out of him down the road. In the meantime, his goals have been fun to watch.

2) A couple of things about Sargent Schultz:
His position play was pretty good last night and he did in fact have a few good hits, one behind the net and another along the left side boards. If his position play continues to improve, he likely feel more comfortable taking the body. Earlier this year I think that he was been burned too easily when going for a big hit, and so it appears that he's focusing more on his position play. I'm not excusing his mistakes and bad turnovers, but I think his play has started to look up defensively. Also, while he has scored 3 goals, most of them were pretty unexciting plays on his part that simply involved him a) shooting more than he has been, leading to b) some lucky bounces and screens. Clearly he has a decent shot from the point, but he is not really supposed to be an offensive defenseman for us. His role is that of a position player to form a solid back line. Given that d-men take so long to develop in the NHL, I'm happy to give him more time to mature.

3) With respect to Olie Kolzig:
We should count our blessings. Goalies usually take even longer than d-men to develop. We are extremely fortunate to have a good goalie who is a) not a headcase, and b) puts up a pretty consistent performance night in and night out. He is not really a streaky goalie. Sure he lets in an occasional soft one, but we are very lucky to not be a team that is constantly searching for a quality netminder and therefore trading for a new goaltender every year. Most teams have a revolving door at this position. The ideal scenario would be to have Kolzig stick around next year to mentor Varlamov and possibly Neuvirth. A great example is Montreal with Carey Price coming up through the ranks. Then again, they also illustrate my point of how lucky we are to have Kolzig. Look at the netminders they have had the past few years. Theodore, Aesbischer, Huet, and now Price. All are decent goalies, but Kolzig has been the most consistent over the years. I'll take him over that scenario any day.

Posted by: Oglithorpe | December 13, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

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