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Q&A with Mike Green

Here's part of a Q&A Mike Green had with the media this afternoon in Las Vegas ahead of tomorrow's award show, where the Caps defenseman is up for the Norris Trophy. I was wandering around a listening to several players' sessions, but here's what I caught of Green's interview:

Q: The Norris Trophy has, over the years, taken on very offensive meaning. Being nominated two years in a row, what does it mean to you?
A: That's just a part of my game, one of those things. Bruce [Boudreau] emphasizes me getting up the ice and being offensive. That's what I bring to the table. At least this year, I've worked on my defensive game and tried to be better in that area. But I've always been a guy to get up the ice and contribute.

Q: Boudreau taking over had a lot to do with you blossoming as a player. Did you always believe you had that in you?
A: I always enjoyed playing that way [offensive]. Once you get to the pro level you have to be careful about how risky you can be. But with Bruce not having any limits on me and letting me play the game how I did growing up, really helped and gave me confidence to do what I can.

Q: You had 31 goals one year. Do you surprise yourself sometimes?
A: I never expected to be in this position when I was young. I have to give credit to my teammates. We have a great team and I'm just a piece of the puzzle.

Q: Do you feel like your defensive game improved the past season over the year before?
A: I feel like you can always improve. I think defense and goalie are the hardest positions. You really have to take pride in your own zone. I think I've done that more so this year than past years. But I think it's a learning process. It doesn't come natural, at least not to me.

Q: Is it hard to find that fine line as an offensive-defenseman?
A: If I'm not producing and not scoring than I'm also not doing my job. To do that, I have to get up into the play and then it's hard to be ...You have to find a balance, and I'm starting to find that balance where you can do both and still be effective.

Q: Is that just experience?
A:It's just experience, just playing, learning and understanding. Bruce does a good job of letting me know when to go and when to not. Playing under him has taught me the balancing. I feel like I've figured it out a little bit more than in the past.

Q: What are your thoughts on potential changes on the Caps' blue line?
A: It's something management feels needs to be changed. We'll see. Nothing is set in stone yet. We need to make some adjustments and we trust our management will do a good job.

Q: How has this summer been for you? For the second straight year, you come here and you're recognized as one of the top defensemen in the NHL but there was some disappointment with the team. Is it hard to balance the two?
A: You wish you were at a Stanley Cup party and then coming to awards show. That puts it all together. But it's great to be nominated and I'm very honored. But, like the rest of these guys, it's about the Stanley Cup.

Q: Are you going to change anything this summer?
A: Yeah, I'm going to come back in the best shape I've ever been in this summer and be better next year.

Q: What are you going to focus on?
A: Just my overall explosive power. That's key in the defensive zone. Being able to explode to the corner and get a good stick and then get up the ice. That's what I like to do, and what I need to do.

Q: What kind of stuff are you doing?
A: Lots of Olympic lifting. Squats and stuff like that.

Q: Are you going to try anything weird?
A: I'm doing yoga. I don't know if that's weird. Yoga. Hot yoga at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 22, 2010; 8:51 PM ET
 
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Next: Morning roundup, awards show edition

Comments

I know a lot of people are down on the guy, but Mike Green is asked to an awful lot on this team.

I think too much actually.

With Carlson playing the whole year this season, I hope they find someone else to play defense with these guys.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | June 22, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I am never down on Green and agree BB rides him too much sometimes. I believe a player of Green's skill will have his effectiveness maximized if you acquire a true #1 defensive defenseman so Green can be your true #1 offensive defenseman. I would think if you cut his minutes a bit and used him primarily on PP and on o-zone draws, he would be stronger.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | June 22, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

totally agree with you Tom.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | June 22, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it's too much to ask if Green would take a hit from a forechecker to move the puck during the freaking playoffs.

Posted by: Erigion | June 22, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

espn is reporting that the asking price for Dustin Byfuglien is a first and a prospect. where do we sign up. the guy has great numbers in post season. semin modano byfuglien is a great second line. will open up space for semin

Posted by: samb99 | June 22, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Just to let everyone know, Tarik is going to be a guest on Japers' Rink Radio this Saturday morning at 10 am from the draft in LA to talk about the draft, any trades that will have gone down and free agency.

The show can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/japersrinkradio and archived on itunes. If you missed it this past Saturday we had on Karl Alzner and Scott Cullen of tsn.ca and both were great interviews!

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | June 22, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

I co-sign on what tominsocal1 said.

@samb99

Buff is a wing who makes $3M/yr. He is a solid player but $3M may be a little high for him for many teams, but with how much money the Caps have spent on wings he isn't worth pursuing(unless you are going to trade Laich).

A center or D man or both is the route to go, IMO.

Posted by: sgm3 | June 22, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

sgm3

i rather overpay for a proven asset. let perault or MJ play center and see if Modano comes in to play second line for a cap friendly number. plus our first pick will not be productive for 2 to 3 years. i think that we need to take our fourth line and move the steckel gordon and bring a few guys cheaper from hershey to fill those roles.

Posted by: samb99 | June 22, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

sgm3: I wouldn't mind a three-way deal that sent Flash and a prospect and got back Buff. Obviously some thid team would take Flash and give Chicago the pick.

Move Flash for Buff - you have the same number of forwards but almost same cost, and you have traded an excess asset for a needed asset.

If the cap really is 59.7, then Caps have like 4.2 to play with.

1) flash out buff in; cap hit 250K balance 4.0
2) Gordo out, Koivu in; cap hit 2.1M balance 1.9
3) Erskine out, new d-man 3.0M in; cap hit 1.75 balance almost nothing.

So, you can do it if you want. Put Koivu as #2C (w/Semin & Fehr) and Buff as #3RW (Laich and Belanger) and the team is better.

Oh, to bring back Belanger, you need to trade Chimera and bring up Pinner or AGordon for 4th line with Steckel & Brads. I'm not sold on MP as checking line center and I think Belanger and AGordon or Pinner is a better combo than Chimera and MP. Actually then you can have MP as forward #13 on the roster.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | June 23, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

I like the olympic lifting, but go all the way and do Crossfit Greener!

Posted by: ltblue14 | June 23, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

Here is an idea I had. What if we get Byfuglien and play him at D for a year? He was a D-man coming up and it wasn't until last year he moved to forward full time. He can still be used in front of the net on the PP much like Philly did with Pronger. In a season when we have to take a long look at Knuble and if we bring him back. Then we could move Byfuglien to forward then and make him our new Knuble.

Posted by: icehammer97 | June 23, 2010 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Where are you guys getting this idea that Modano is coming to the Caps?

And why would we want a 40 year center who will likely not take a discount to play for Washington, when there are better options out there?

Plus he only played 59 games last year and had 14G 16A

Posted by: Fro_ | June 23, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Sharks letting Nabokov go. Not saying that would work financially or if we even want him, but curious as to others thoughts on trying to go after him.

Posted by: adamkatzen | June 23, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97

I read the first half of your last post and thought- maybe/maybe not- I dunno.

Then: "In a season when we have to take a long look at Knuble and if we bring him back. Then we could move Byfuglien to forward then and make him our new Knuble."

I like where you're going here.

He's RFA after this year. Assuming his price tag will go up (4-5 million range?) if he does for us what we would expect him to- we can sign him or get some decent picks for him if another team signs him.

Although we still need a 2C.

Posted by: Fro_ | June 23, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

icehammer,

i believe Buff moved to forward because he sucked @ d...and was waaay behind that depth chart.

Posted by: Jgray85 | June 23, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

My main reservation with acquiring Buff is that there would be two wingers on the 3rd line (between Buff, Laich, and Fer) who would combine to make near $6M/yr.

$6M/yr is a lot for players who are only going to play 12 to 14 minutes per game(there's only 60 and Ovie's going to get over 20, second line will get 18, 4th line will get around 10).

While acquiring Buff for a draft pick would definitely make the Caps better, I am not sure it is really feasible in this salary cap age.

Remember, balance is needed on the Caps. To me, meaning less money spent on wingers and more dedicated to D and centers.

I have great respect of Modano and have always loved him as a players. However, IMO, Modano is over the hill. The only thing he could bring is leadership, which could be useful. But he would be a liability on the ice. I'd rather have BMo as 2nd line center next year than Modano. (and I don't want BMo as the 2nd line center next year)

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I know others have already seen it but here is the ESPN tidbit about Buff and the Hawks. It sounds as though teams are waiting out the Hawks because they know their price will drop the closer it gets to July 1. However, a team doesn't want to wait too long and have another swoop in and pick up a guy.

"The Chicago Blackhawks are shopping Dustin Byfuglien and, according to ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun, the asking price is a prospect and a first-round pick. One NHL GM told LeBrun, "No freakin' way they get a first-round pick. They're asking too much for all their guys right now."

This could be a problem for the Hawks, who are also dealing Kris Versteeg and Andrew Ladd. They need to move these contracts before July 1 so they can free up some cap space. That way, they can lock up their restricted free agents -- Nicklas Hjlamarsson in particular -- before they are exposed to offer sheets. "

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

The HOF story did not have space for commentary, so I will (mis)place it here...one of the big mistakes in Capitals history was trading class guy & all-time great CAPITAL Mike Gartner for Dino C. The team's playoff frustration was a function of the Brothers Murray but the team was searching for change. Sure, Dino was a spark plug player but he was no Mike Gartner. Happily, Mike was recognized in the HOF first, but he should have retired as a lifetime Capital.

Posted by: bill_in_damascus | June 23, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

A dman who puts up big numbers in the regular season but tanks in the playoffs every year is of no use. I'm hoping Carlson makes Green expendable in very short order.

Posted by: poguesmahone | June 23, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"At least this year, I've worked on my defensive game and tried to be better in that area. "

thank you stevie yzerman!

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

icehammer,

i believe Buff moved to forward because he sucked @ d...and was waaay behind that depth chart.

Posted by: Jgray85 | June 23, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

he played D most of his career if not his entire career in Norfolk (AHL). I think Savard moved him to forward. Either because the Hawks had enough depth at D or they were smaller upfront and they needed his size. The key with Buffy is, he may have a very subpar regular season. But its the playoffs you're hoping to utilize him in. He steps it up to a whole new level of intensiy. During the reg season sometimes he gets lazy and doesn't do a lot of forechecking. He's also not a real fiesty guy despite his rep. He doesn't get involved in a lot of scrums, he doesn't stick his nose in there either. Andrew Ladd is a more consistent power forward imo.

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

"And why would we want a 40 year center who will likely not take a discount to play for Washington, when there are better options out there?"

I dunno, why the heck did we sign Nylander? If there's an over the hill finesse player out there, you can be sure his name is somewhere on the Caps hit list.

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The Dino vs. Gartner saga resonates with the current situation. Gartner was a great speed/finesse guy who couldn't score in the playoffs, especially during the clutch and grab era in which he played. Dino had nowhere near the skill level of Gartner IMO, but could score the ugly playoff goals. Comcast showed some Dino highlight goals last night, and they were all in close, often with an opposing player beating the cr*p out of him. So, in the playoffs, it seems that you get to choose between winning ugly or losing pretty, even today.

Posted by: zmega | June 23, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Modano is at the end of his career. Why would we want to invest any money in a guy that may play one more year? Makes no sense. Same thing with Koivu who is also near the end of his career. We need a true 2nd line center and don't understand the fascination with MP. He has done little at the NHL level and will be a major defensive liability in playoff hockey. If you look at the teams that advanced, they all had at least 2 and sometime 3 top centers like Philly, Chicago, San Jose, and Boston. I'd be more interested in a guy like Patrick Sharp.

Posted by: wizfan89 | June 23, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"The Dino vs. Gartner saga resonates with the current situation."

as did Rouse v Murphy. Rouse was a big strong strapping defensive dman who was better suited to the grueling Patrick Div battles (Pens, Rangers, Flyers etc) than was Murph. Adding a top 6 forward with the grit Dino had, and then adding a top 4 young dman with the grit that Rouse had, all boded well for the Caps in the playoffs.

yeah McPhee, take a page out of Poile's book! At least for a few things.

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

It did bode well for the Caps in the playoffs. Except for the winning part.

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Mike Green "We just need to make sure that the guys we have understand that the game changes in the playoffs and we have to step up."

you would think in playoff year 3, this wouldn't be an issue.

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

It did bode well for the Caps in the playoffs. Except for the winning part.

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

explain? with Dino and Rouse, the Caps went further than they ever had before. They made it to the conf finals and lost to a great Bruins team and we were missing our 2 top offensive players to start that series - Hatcher and Dino. So how did it not bode well?

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Over that entire period, the best that team ever did was win 8 playoff games and were usually knocked out in the 1st round.

I know you do not consider that a success because you have been ripping on these Caps every day because they have had two first round exits sandwiching a year in which they won 7 playoff games.

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Over that entire period, the best that team ever did was win 8 playoff games and were usually knocked out in the 1st round.

I know you do not consider that a success because you have been ripping on these Caps every day because they have had two first round exits sandwiching a year in which they won 7 playoff games.

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

SGM, You have ZERO clue about what you're talking about. First of all, the Dino/Rouse trade produced a Conf Finals appearance in their first full season with the Caps. Which makes your comment about "the whole period they only won 8 playoff games" totally irrelevant. The first full season they played here, they advanced past the 2nd round. Did you even watch those series? probably not. I know that every Caps fan I knew considered that playoff season to be a pretty successful venture because the team made a huge stride forward. We beat two tough playoff opponents and limped into a series with the Bruins for the Conf finals and our team was decimated by injuries. Dino and Hatcher were out. Stevens had a bad shoulder, etc. Still fought our guts out in every game and lost.

Compare that to the last 3 playoff seasons for the current version of the Caps
- lose in round 1
- lose in round 2
- lose in round 1

Sorry, but it doesn't compare. And the reason that the Dino/Rouse team didn't build on that momentum was because that team got ripped apart in the offseason due to the infamous limo incident.

so i suggest you get your facts in order before you compare teams that existed 20 yrs apart.

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

just to hammer the nail all the way in --

We traded 2 of our top skill guys for 2 very gritty players who could play top minutes.

The result?

In their first full season with the team, the Caps won 2 playoff series. And that same offseason, the roster got ripped apart.

So yeah, it was a very successful trade for the Caps.

Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

They won 8 playoff games. I love how you consider winning 8 playoff games as successful.

The Caps of 2009 won 7 playoff games.

So the goal for next year is to win 8 playoff games and get swept in the conference finals. SUCCESS!!!

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I've got some hot yoga in my pants.

Posted by: Matt252 | June 23, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The Gartner - Dino debate misses the point - we had a face of the franchise guy who had barely missed a game traded for well, a lesser individual in my opinion. It was a player trade for the sake of making a change. The trade did not bring playoff success in '89. The real problem was a terrible playoff coach in Bryan Murray. The teams fortunes improved under Terry, but neither Murray has EVER produced a Cup as management. Organizationally, the Caps were strangled by the Pollin ownership situation who let our Cup walk out the door with Mr. Stevens.

Posted by: bill_in_damascus | June 23, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I also agree with tominsocal, what he said in the very first post up there.

I also want to point out that Larry Murphy was on four Stanley Cup winning teams. I guess trading Gartner for Dino would make some kind of sense. At the time, Dino was a big name too. But letting Murphy go was crazy, I definitely thought so at the time, and I'll never think anything else.

I don't really consider getting swept in the conference finals one year to be any more than a scintilla of evidence that would support any kind of notion that a particular trade was a good one for the losing team in question.

Posted by: youaresquishy | June 23, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

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