Point/Counterpoint: Mike Green Ditches the Media

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It’s the last day of school at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today, and there’s a little bit of summer drama in the air.  While his teammates were getting interviewed (and sometimes skewered)  during the end-of-season press conferences, Canada’s Best Defenseman Mike Green quietly left without speaking to the media.

Mike was held goalless in the losing playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens and was a crucial ingredient in both Habs goals in game 7.  What does his absence today mean?  Peter Hassett and Neil Greenberg take sides and battle-rap it out below.

Neil’s take

When Mike Green declined to talk to the media on the last day at Kettler, he caused quite a stir on Twitter– because not only did this season end on a first round exit when expectations (both for the team and for MG52 personally) were considerably high, but it was also his second poor postseason showing in a row – which begs two questions:

  1. Is the Muscle Milk doing any good?
  2. Is Mike Green mature enough to take the next step?

I’ll let the nutritionists handle Muscle-Milk-gate and will concede it is impossible to make future predictions based on a missed press conference, but it does indicate Mike Green may not be ready to take the next step after all.  That’s a bad thing.

All athletes know going in that the amount of media scrutiny is based on a combination of the player’s skill, salary and potential. Mike Green tips the scales on all three of those factors, so it should not come as a surprise when the media want to hear his parting thoughts on the season, the playoffs, his performance and his outlook going forward and get disappointed when he avoids them.

Of course, there are some players who just aren’t ready, and who struggle to close the gap between ability and potential, only to find themselves falling victim to pressure or the “over-rated” label. But for those who can handle themselves, there’s stardom, superstardom, and the glory of unlimited nachos and Norris trophies!

Time for Mike Green to own up to his failures, embrace the accountability that comes with a perennial Norris trophy candidate, and take the next step.

Peter’s take

Mike Green should have spoken to the media today.  Press relations is now requisite for all professional athletes, and it’d be a sucker’s argument to try and dispute that.  Instead, let’s try to see it from Mike’s side.

MG52 had 0 goals, 3 assists and 12 PIMs in 7 games against the Canadiens.  His needless crosscheck in game seven led to an easy 4-on-3 goal, and his sloppy backchecking in the third period led to the goal that broke the Caps’ back.  When those feckless fans booed the home team in the final minute, they were booing Green specifically.  Even the most hardy of Caps fans were grumpy and forlorn.  Drunk guys and little kids were crying, and Mike Green was part of the reason why.  Does anyone think that he does not know that?

Green and his team are not suiting up tonight for game one of round two.  They’ll be watching the Stanley Cup playoffs from their homes.  They will see their fans, many of whom were converted just this year and swelling with hope, heartbroken all summer.

The punishment for playing poor hockey is losing.  Mike Green played bad hockey, and now he’s paying for it.  The boos, the deflated fans, and the quiet nights until September will see to that.

I’ve read that Green should “face the music” or “answer” for what he’s done, but I distinctly remember him doing just that when the clock ran out on the Caps’ post-season.  While talking to the press is basic part of his job, and he should have done it today, we should not consider Mike Green’s exit to be a manner of dodging justice.  Dude is paying for his mistakes one way or another.

  • Emily Karol

    RMNB, boys… it’s spelled with two T’s! KetTler. geeze…

  • Dan Steinberg

    I’m not fired up one way or the other, but Green didn’t talk on Wednesday, either. This isn’t just a hockey thing; when NBA or NFL teams have their season end, everyone talks, certainly every star. For a Norris finalist just to roll out is odd, if nothing else.

  • Peter Hassett

    Thanks, Emily. That typo was all my bad.

  • Peter Hassett

    @Dan

    First of all, thanks for slumming it with us.

    Can we chalk Mike’s absence up to profound guilt and youthful indiscretion? He’s gotta feel awful, and I can sympathize with him wanting to avoid the spectacle that was waiting for him.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Russian Machine Never Breaks

    @Peter: Objection! Leading the witnesses!

    @Dan: You don’t have to answer that. Next question.

  • http://neverletyouseizecontrol.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    I disagree. It’s their job to play. But the season is over for them, so who cares. Just because Green is one of the “Young Guns” they are upset he doesn’t speak to the media. But if it were someone else, like the other players that aren’t given more attention, no one would really care.
    If I had just lost, I wouldn’t talk to anyone. Like seriously, What is there to say?
    “We lost. We played badly.”
    I think that’s what everyone has said. I mean, yeah Mike needs to face facts, but I think after losing in the first round and seeing the Habs celebrate, I think that’s when you know, “I need to work on my game.” Publicly announcing that you think you suck at what you do isn’t very necessary.
    No one is going to die because they didn’t get a damn quote from Mike Green saying, “I made mistakes blah blah blah etc etc etc”
    I think it’s time to face facts that Mike Green didn’t talk to anyone and nothing can change that.
    That’s my two cents.

  • JD

    After MTL scored on the PP at the end of the first period (with MG52 in the box), the season ticket holder in the row in front of me who always wears a #52 jersey took it off, turned it inside out and then put it back on. I predict a bunch fewer #52 jerseys at Verizon in the coming season.

  • Peter Hassett

    You make a good point, Jessica, but I think PR is a reality of pro sports. Being good at what you do is the main part, but talking about it in the media is vital to a successful career and organization. Heck, there are a bunch of people who are great at talking but only so-so at the game itself. (Clinton Portis.)

  • http://neverletyouseizecontrol.blogspot.com/ Jessica

    Very true, Peter. And lulz about Clinton Portis.

    Damn, so much drama. Reminds me of reading stuff about music. And that’s a bad thing. Opinions are so diverse and nobody ever comes to an answer.Like,
    “A7X is gay”

    “A7X’s music is amazing.”

    and it goes back and forth….
    Then in the end, you realize, “Why the hell did I read all these negative (sometimes positive) things?”
    That’s my thought on this whole situation.

  • http://kkthemook.blogspot.com Katie

    Yes, I believe he should have spoken with the media but it’s understandable as to why he didn’t. i’m sure he would have been reamed by the media and he knows that. Just give him time to have some quality time with his hot tub he’ll come around and explain what’s up. I’m sure speaking to the media wasn’t the first thing on his mind today and I’m sure he has a lot of thinking to do because he can comprehend his thoughts.

    Besides he’s not only a Norris finalist, but a Foundation award finalist as well ….”commitment, perseverance, and teamwork.” He wasn’t nominated just for funsies,

    It may have not been the smartest thing to avoid the media today but it’s understandable.

  • SC

    This is why he does not talk to the media…because the media gets it wrong…he did NOT have “0 points” and he was NOT “scoreless”…he had 3 points (assists)!

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  • Peter Hassett

    Susan, you’re right, and I’ll fix the post. But I don’t consider trash like RMNB part of the media. wink

  • James

    How about this? Mike Green needs to be a MAN about the situation and own up to the fact that he was ******** TERRIBLE the past THREE post-seasons. One large factor that Bourdreau’s schemes did NOT work is b/c of his complete ineptitude offensively AND defensively.

    Versus pointed out that the Habs held the Caps to 1-33 on the PP, then asked if the Habs could do that to the Pens this series. The quick answer was not a chance b/c Gonchar is the PP QB for the Pens (Green’s position). Just another slap in the face of the crappy play that is Green during any playoff run w/the Capitals.

  • Lindsay

    I’m with Jessica.

    If, at some point, the media wants to chat with MG52 without railing him the whole time, I’m sure he will be available for comment. He’s a good guy. He works hard, plays hard, is one of the most charitable NHL players around, and is genuinely nice to fans who meet him (he told me happy birthday and happily signed my shirt last year :) — ). He is also, I’m sure, fully aware of how badly he played in the playoffs. He is likely his own biggest critic. He doesn’t need to subject himself to be ripped apart by the media, which is most likely what would have happened today after the meetings. If he wanted to quietly sneak out the back door, he had every right to. PR is definitely a huge part of pro sports today, but no player is ever obligated to speak. They’re paid to play. Someone else is paid to give statements.

    and @ JD: I’ll be wearing my MG52 jersey come September, don’t you worry. I still think he’s a great player, and I’m happy to support him.

  • Manda

    @ SC good point.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t want to talk to the press either. I grew up a Chicago Cubs fan and I am even appauled by how this city has turned on this team. I’m embarrassed that on Thursday morning the Washington Post and the Examiner used their front pages as vehicles to humiliate the Caps. Why? What is the value in sensationalizing shame (especially in a free paper)?

    I don’t know what questions were going to be asked of him and frankly, I don’t know if I could bear to hear the answers right now anyway. Even if he had them.

    I am thankful to have been along for this season’s ride and I wish the players the best during this challenging time and look forward to whatever twist and turns come down the ice. Go Caps!

  • Jac

    Mike Green needs to find Lisa Hillary or Ivan Carter and do an interview. He is going to have to answer those questions sooner or later, might as well get started and get it over through some friendly faces. Life isn’t about the mistakes we make but how we handle them.

  • Peter Hassett

    “Life isn’t about the mistakes we make but how we handle them.”

    Jac, getting all philosophical on your behind.

  • MJ

    I hope this doesn’t come across as stereotyping or offensive, because it’s honestly not meant to be.

    Doing a twitter search for ‘greenlife52,’ and looking at the comments above, it appears that female caps fans are much more positive toward Mike Green then their male counterparts. Has anyone else noticed this? If so, do you think that has to do more with the different genders’ tendencies toward forgiveness, Mike’s apparently raw sex appeal, or something else?

  • James

    @Manda What were the papers SUPPOSED to do? Highlight how AMAZING the Caps were all season long? Pretend that when it ACTUALLY mattered, the Caps just failed to do anything?

    Come on now, they’re doing their job.

    If you’re going to hate how media handled the Caps’ loss, you should hate CSN’s Washington Post Live w/Ivan Carter. The show on Wed and Thurs (4/28 4/29) made it so I don’t think I can ever watch it again w/all the Caps hate and propoganda against the Caps going on. It’s one thing for them to criticize, it’s another to completely CRAP on the Caps and Caps fans at that.

  • MJ

    I’m sure it sucks big time for Mike, and yeah, if I were in his position, I wouldn’t want to talk tot he press. But neither did anyone else on the team, I’m sure. And pretty much all of the rest of them were mature enough to overcome their sadness, disappointment, and possible embarrassment and do it. It can’t have felt good for Ovie to be questioned about his leadership and performance during the series, but he was a professional, just like most of the team.

    Mike Green makes $5.25million a year. If he’s mature enough to deserve that salary, he should be mature enough to face the tough but fair questions that people have after a series like this. The Caps PR people are excellent; they’ll make sure that it doesn’t turn into a firing squad.

  • Jac

    I’m a femme and I think Mike Green should go on the wing or go somewhere else. Send him to one of the canadian teams in the west and he’ll be sure to grow up quickly. You can think he’s cute or cocky, whatever you want, but after a couple years of not playing solid defense, none of that matters anymore. Perhaps he’ll follow in Jeff Schultz’s footsteps, we all got tired of hearing Stephanie from Poolesville on the post game show talking him down – now she doesn’t call, there’s no reason for it.

  • WashCapsRock

    I agree with @Katie that yes Mike should have spoken to the media; however, put yourself in his position. You know he feels like crap. Would you want to get grilled by the media less than 48 hours after their devastating loss? I certainly wouldn’t. Just my humble opinion.

  • manda

    @James Perhaps something along the lines of “Thank You” or “Yeah, That’s Sucks But There’s Always Next Year”, would have sufficed as commentary from the media. They choose to burry the Caps on page 5 on a good day but when they fail it’s prime fodder front and center.

    But thank you for calling me out on not mentioning CSN as a major contributor to this madness save Alan May and Smokin’ Al.

    @Jac Lisa Hilary, Ivan Carter and Lindsay Czarniak, for that matter, should be the last “reporters” Mike Green speaks with. Unless he’s asking advice on what is the best way to throw someone under a bus.

  • BobbyG

    Meh. I don’t care if Mike Green talks or not. What can he possibly say to explain or rationalize why the Caps lost and his role in this fiasco? He doesn’t owe us words; what he did owe the Caps and their fans is a stellar effort by playing his heart out to help them win. He failed, they failed, end of story. Case closed.

  • Chooch

    Mike, you’re a butterfly. And butterflies are free to fly. Fly away. High away! Bye Bye!

  • Peter

    @manda,

    I think you’re referring to coverage I haven’t seen. What did Lisa Hillary, Ivan Carter, and my girl Lindsay Czarniak say?

  • Hello Japan!

    Mike Green sucks. He’s nothing more than a winger playing on “D”.

  • Caveman

    Interviews are so easy, even I can do them.

  • mch

    I had two Mike Green shirts until I took care of them last night. Hawk your muscle milk somewhere else you clown.

  • Hittman

    Mike Green will be out of Washington this Summer, as will Semin. We’ll miss their regular season contributions quite a bit, but Semin probably will be playing in Russia in two seasons and Green needs to go play in Calgary.

  • Hello Japan!

    Mike Green sucks.

  • http://singingfromthecrease.wordpress.com Mia

    I can’t presume to guess which players will be elsewhere come September, but Green is most certainly on the short-list for a plane ticket out of town. I figured it was SOP for at least the higher profile players to at least make some half-hearted attempt at showing a face and answering questions vaguely before they head off into the wilds of golf courses across the world, but I do also think some of them probably had trouble even comprehending what just happened to them – one thing on the subject of players addressing certain groups that I strongly believe should never happen is this http://singingfromthecrease.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/should-the-washington-capitals-players-apologize-to-the-fans/

    Oh and MJ – I’m a female and of ALL the players I’m most disappointed with – it’s Mike Green. There are some butt-ugly players in the NHL who have managed, on the way down from their fall from the top of the ugly tree – hitting every branch, to be well-established, hard-working talents Let’s not type CHARA outloud (oops), but this female would rather have a team of the foulest looking men in the world who can play hockey to win a cup, than even one Mike Green if he can’t contribute.

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