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.
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:
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.
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.
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