Can a sports psychologist help the Caps?
When Mike Green called a solo press conference last spring to discuss his team's early playoff loss, he mentioned how his mind was trying to process the need to be better defensively while still contributing on offense.
"When that gets into your head, you tend to not do the right things at the right times," he said. Which prompted someone to drop this in the comments section:
"What this team needs is an AWESOME sports psychologist!"
Whether that anonymous Internet commenter was joking or not, Green went there.
"You know what, as a professional athlete you have to deal with these things," he told NBC Washington's Lindsay Czarniak this week, when asked about his mental state. "You want to win so bad, and the Stanley Cup, growing up in Canada, is one of the greatest things you can win, especially in my industry, what I do. But you have to get over that and move on, and I'm at a good state right now. I've worked on myself over the summer and talked with a psychologist, a sports psychologist about how to prepare myself to play in the playoffs. I'm ready to go. So I'm a confident player right now."
In his final address last year, Green shared the thoughts of many in the organization, that you couldn't blame the playoff exit on team's system or the style of play.
"It's funny, there's all of this talk about, "Is it our system?'" he said then. "The whole season, the question is whether we [could] be a defensive team. Then we get in the playoffs, and it's now it's about, 'Can we score goals?' when we scored the most goals in the league."
And now, Green -- like many of his teammates -- is subtly changing the message, again via NBC Washington:
"You need to prepare yourself to play the way you're gonna play in the playoffs all season," he said. "I think at times maybe we were winning hockey games, but we were kind of a little bit sloppy. And that's our fault as players, because we're the ones that are out there, we're responsible for ourselves. But if everyone can buy in here quick and become a consistent team on a nightly basis and play our way whether we win or lose, I think that's more important than being a run-and-gun kind of team."
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