Suffice to say, Mike Green was snakebit last year. The Caps defenseman dealt with freak injuries to the shoulder, knee, and hip and also managed to miss 26 of Washington’s final 28 games in the regular season due to a pair of traumatic head injuries. Green’s 49 games-played were the fewest he’s totaled in a single season since he came up to the NHL full-time in 2006-07. His 24 points were also 52 short of his career-high set in 2009-10.
Tuesday, TSN’s Jermain Franklin caught up with Green after a workout in Calgary and the 26-year-old spoke optimistically about his health, his goals for the upcoming season, and George McPhee’s offseason moves. The two-time Norris Trophy finalist also responded to Matt Bradley’s recent comments about Alex Semin and the Capitals supposed lack of discipline in the locker room saying,”if you’re not going to be committed this year, you’re not going to fit in with our team.”
A partial transcript of the interview is below.
Green on what he’s focused on over the offseason.
“You obviously have to recover physically from the season with your injuries. And then mentally. You know, obviously, we didn’t go as far as we wanted to. It’s been a bit of a disappointment throughout the last few couple of years in the playoffs. But, it’s over and done with. You put it behind you and it’s time to move forward.”
His thoughts on George McPhee’s offseason additions to the Capitals line-up.
“I think we added some depth. We got Troy Brouwer, Ward. We got a great defenseman in Hamrilk. And to top it off: a new goalie. Vokoun is experienced. Maybe that’s what we lacked a little on the backend was experience. And we got that now. Not only that, I think guys like myself, Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin need to be the leaders and step up. It’s time that we get committed and we get focused on the grand prize. Other than the travel and the physical side of the game, it’s trying to stay healthy throughout that 82 games. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. I only made it half-way through. The important thing is I’m healthy now and I’ll make sure I stay healthy this season.”
On why his numbers declined last year.
“When you’re producing and your production is coming throughout the season, it’s usually in a flow and comes in long periods. Anytime you’re out and you’re in, you can’t get that feel for the game as well. Not only that, we switched our game plan up a little bit, and I personally wanted to be stronger defensively. That maybe affected the production. You know, I’m still learning, still adjusting to try and become that complete defenseman. That was one step I needed to take to get there. So now hopefully I can put it all together and be able to do both.”
On his recovery from last year’s concussions.
“Now that I’m better you really realize the symptoms and how scary it is. I’m 100% right now and I’m happy with that. I’m not trying to think about if I get another one or if I put myself in that position.”
“We know as an organization what Semin is about. He’s one of the best players skill-wise in the NHL. Again, it goes back to everyone being back on the same page. I feel that if you’re not going to be committed this year, you’re not going to fit in with our team. I think that’s important that we address that and Matt Bradley definitely brought it out in the media. It’ll be dealt with when we get back for the season.”
Green’s goals for the upcoming season.
“The main goal is the Stanley Cup. In the past, we’ve been great obviously during the regular season and maybe a little too confident or whatnot going into the playoffs. You know, starting on day one, we have to prepare ourselves for the playoffs mentally and physically. I think enough is enough. We’ve wasted enough time here. We feel like our time is now, and we don’t want to let [our chance to win a championship] slip away.”