At this point, we all know how the story goes. First, the Capitals lose Game 7 and Mike Green – the man who had two miscues that led to two goals that night – avoids the media. Then on breakdown day, Greener magically disappears from Kettler and avoids doing interviews again.
Maybe it was guilt, or maybe it was a subtle nudge by his agent, but Monday, Mike Green finally broke his silence via Capitals Insider and a 1 on 1 interview with Mike Vogel. Green talked extensively about his total devastation after the loss, why he avoided the media in the first place and what he thought of his performance in the series as a whole.
But then this morning, Green further expounded on his woes to Elliot in the Morning during my commute to work. After hearing the whole thing live, I thought it was an extremely revealing interview and worth sharing with our readers. I really want you guys to hear all you that can from the players so you can get a better perspective on why this historic season turned so sour, so unpredictably.
Q - Hey Mike, let me ask you this, I feel like it’s been written a couple of places, and you’ll hear Joe B. talk about it occasionally during games and stuff over the course of the year, but they’ll talk about how some guys will deal with winning and how some guys deal with losing. And I feel like I’ve heard Joe B. say a couple times that Nobody is effected more by a loss than you and Brooks Laich. Is that pretty accurate?
A - Maybe, yeah. Yeah. I think we’re definitely the types of guys who take it personally. You know you lose games during the regular season and you get over it. But when it’s in the playoffs – and it’s life or death – at least it feels like it to me, it’s not an easy thing.
Q - So game 7 finishes and everybody kind of… I’ve got to imagine that it was… It was very quiet in our parking garage leaving, I’ve gotta imagine for you guys it was even worse. What do you do to deal with it, though?
A - Well I said this yesterday, I don’t turn on a TV or read a newspaper. That’s for sure.
Q - So you kinda just hole up in the Mike Green apartment and kinda layed low for awhile?
A - Yeah, I think you need to. You really need to reflect on, not only about the playoffs, but the whole season. And you know, how far we’ve come. And you know, it’s obviously disappointing with the way things turned out, but you just take a step back… and really realize how quick we’ve become a good hockey team and you know, we want this so bad and I know everybody else wants this so bad. And it’s gonna happen, it just takes time.
Q - Hey let me ask you this. I saw where you said you’ve gone back and watched some of the games from the playoffs. And I don’t know if you watched all 7. I don’t know if you saw part of em.’ But like, when you go back and watch the games, what do you see when you go back and watch them?
A - As far as a team?
Q - Yeah just, I mean… People will point to a couple things and say you know what? We came out really flat in Game 5 and whether that’s attributed to the flight from hell getting back into DC… and being stuck in a plane until 6 in the morning, but coming out flat. Other games coming out and giving up goals early… When you go back and take a look at the games, do you see the system broke down? The system was right but guys didn’t execute? I mean, not to take anything away from Montreal, Halak played an unbelievable series and they did a really good job shutting things down…
A - No they did and that’s the thing too: I don’t think they got enough credit for how well they really played. You know, the thing is all season we were able to fight back and come back and score goals… and I really feel like it had nothing to do with our system. I feel like – I mentioned this yesterday – we were criticized all year about [lacking defense] and going into playoffs, you know, we thought we could score goals when we needed one. And it didn’t work out. We had never been in that position all season and it kinda flustered us. I think I watched Game 5, Game 6 and Game 7 and I felt like in Game 6 was our best game and we threw everything we could at them. And when that happens, you feel like You know, okay if we play like that next game, we’ll win. And we went for it and we played our hearts out, and it didn’t work. That was the frustrating part. Throughout the whole season we score goals and I think you change your mind frame going into playoffs, that you know, we need to be better defensively so maybe it takes away from our OHHHFENSE and it hurts us.
Q - I thought defensively, I thought you threw your body around pretty well. I thought when it came to… and I did hear you say you tried to focus a little bit more on being defensive minded. And I wouldn’t say it’s a criticism of you, I would just say it’s something that people say about you… where they think… obviously the points show that… you’re an offensive-minded – I wouldn’t even say “minded” defenseman. You’re an offensive talented defenseman. I mean, you score a ton of goals, you get a ton of assists. You’re out there on the powerplay… offense isn’t a problem. But defensively I thought you threw yourself around pretty well through the playoffs.
A - Well I think that’s one of the things I was concentrating on: playing solid and playing physical and blocking shots and doing the things that people say it takes to win a cup. You know… maybe my mind frame, you know I’m an offensive guy, I need to think Offense and I was thinking defense. And you know, in that sense, I take full responsibility for not doing my job. But I think at the end of the day, you just have to be yourself. You can’t be something you’re not. And you know, I’m not a stay-at-home defenseman. That’s not my job. My job is to get into the play and create and produce. And I didn’t do that this series.
Q - Do you feel like you tried maybe too much to be the defensive guy… that it does get into your head and prevent you from pinching at times or leading a rush at times?
A - Absolutely, absolutely. And with that being said, you don’t want to be the guy that jumps into the play and gets caught in playoffs. And with our team we’re so aggressive offensively, that if I do jump up I have to be the first guy back. And with playing Montreal, they’re a fast team and their transition game is good. And it was tough to get up there in the play.
Q - The crosschecking call in game 7, was that fair or did you think that was a little bit BS?
A - I thought it was a little BS. ::laughs:: I was, I don’t know if everybody else knows, I hardly pushed him. And he was about to get up and close the gap on me and give me a little push and he fell. I don’t know whether he lost his edge or was falling to begin with or what, but I was just trying to get an arm in the way so I could go to the puck.
Q - To me, going back and seeing that,… to me it didn’t look like you took the stick and went at him. It almost looked like your stick was coming up as he went down.
A - Yeah. And that’s what I didn’t understand. You know when you crosscheck somebody and you give em’ a whack. I felt like if anything, I was just trying to steer myself towards the puck, and you know, when he goes down like that, it’s at the discretion of the ref. But you can’t change anything now.
Q - Hey Mike, let me ask you this. When [newspapers and blogs] talk about… [you] not being able to score and it gets into your head and Halak gets into your head, is that a media thing? Or does it really start to frustrate you where it’s like how many shots are we going to have to put on this guy before – And by the way, they were going in earlier – what the hell is going on?
A - Yeah. Well, you know, I think the one thing with us is we relied so much on our powerplay all season. That’s how you win games at times. You score 1 or 2 powerplay goals and the other team doesn’t, and you win by a goal or two. And for us, the media was on us for the powerplay. And for whatever reason it wasn’t going… they shut down our top guys and their goalie played out standing. Really, he really did. You know, you have guys like Semin and Mike Knuble taking one timers in the slot that – I don’t even feel like we had those types of opportunities in the regular season and we’re getting them in playoffs – and this goalie is somehow stopping them when 9 out of 10 times they go in the net. We just had to adjust and we didn’t adjust quick enough.
Q - You know, they talk about adjustments and stuff. And we talked to George McPhee right after the series and he said that he felt like Boudreau had made adjustments, had gone over making adjustments with you guys, and you guys were doing that and it wasn’t going in. I mean – do you agree – did Boudreau try to make the necessary adjustments and it didn’t work?
A - Absolutely. You know, everyday, Bruce goes over gametape he analyzes everything and is really good at knowing what to do in situations like that. And we adjusted. We switched some roles around, you know with Ovie going up front and whatnot, and he was getting quality shots… and I mean… when Alex is limited to just one goal on the powerplay, it’s not a lack of effort. We all ::laughs in disbelief:: are trying to score and I feel like we got robbed a little bit with the goaltender. It was a bad time for us to run into a hot goaltender. That’s no excuse for our team. We need to be better but, um, it just sucks.
Q - Hey let me ask you this. You’re a professional athelete. You know how this works. The series ends and you know that people are going to go after people, do you feel like you, Semin and Fleichmann are being treated a little unfairly?
A - Well, if you look: Fleich had over 20 goals, Sasha had 40 and myself, we’re guys who are expected to produce. You know, when that doesn’t happen, that’s an easy target for the media. You know, you’re right. Being a professional athlete I’m used to this, but if we have to take the brunt of it, I’ll be responsible for my part and that’s that. You can’t worry too much about it but I’m definitely aware of what’s being said.
Q - Hey can I ask you something that goes back to the Olympics for a second? And I mean you’re from Calgary. You know what religion hockey is in that country. Is it – I don’t know if the word is frustrating, I don’t know if it’s a distraction – but there was a whole lead up to Team Canada announcing their team. Is it a bit surreal to know that literally an entire country is dissecting what you do every night?
A - ::laughs:: Yeah.
Q - I feel like – that wouldn’t get in the way but I mean, you know what that country’s like, that anytime it comes up, it was “How many defenseman are we going to take?” “Are we going to take Mike Green?” “Is he too offensive-minded to fit in?” And it’s literally an entire country, dissecting everything that you do. I just wonder if that gets distracting?
A - Well, yeah at times. You know, it’s something where you know as a player you feel like you can’t win. At the end of the day, you really can’t worry about it or care about what other people think about that. As far as the big picture and the way people feel and think in the media, I can’t win. You know, I try. ::depressingly laughs:: I try to be a complete player and with my role on this team, I’m really asked to be an offensive guy and create. You know, it’s tough to do both.
Q - And by the way, let me say that if that’s your job on this team, I feel like the job that they’ve assigned you I feel like you’ve done pretty damn well.
A - Well, I try. I really do. You know, I think they feel that way too that I’ve done a pretty good job. And the whole schemes of things of the media world in Canada… you know, Canada’s old school in the fact that the types of players that are liked and praised about are not necessarily just the OHHHFENSIVE types of guys. It’s different out there and I don’t fit into that category at times. And the thing is I feel like I’m more working towards being that complete player and have made a lot of strides from when I was younger. I still have that burden on me from the past.
Q - We talked about it this morning, we know that some guys are flying out and going to the World Championships. I know Brooks is going to play for Team Canada and we were talking about Ovechkin, Semin and Varlamov going to play with Russia, you are not going to play for Canada but that’s due to a hurt wrist, correct?
A - Yeah, I had an injury after we played Columbus at the end of the season. And it hadn’t gotten better and it still isn’t better. George felt that I needed to see a specialist and this isn’t a good time for me to go.
Q - So this isn’t going to be one of those lingering things… You’ll be able to take care of this in the offseason right?
A - Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah.
Q - Which gets me to, what are you going to do in the offseason?
A - Well, I’m going to go home and see my family and go back to Calgary and start training again and getting ready for next season.
Q - You’re allowed to have some fun during the offseason.You’ve earned that.
A - Hey, I have a nice place out in Calgary out on a lake so I’ll be alright.
Q - Are you going to go to the NHL Awards?
A - I am, yes.
Q - Good. You should win it this year, I feel like.
A - Well, we’ll see. We’ll see.