Photo credit: Brace Hemmelgarn

The folks who were clamoring for more hockey coverage by Washington Post columnists are probably kicking themselves right now. Mike Wise’s Thursday night column, “It’s time for the Washington Capitals to move defenseman Mike Green,” is a jumble of ill-advised analysis culminating in that titular recommendation, which doesn’t make sense.

In his defense, Wise’s piece is charming, and he does a splendid job summarizing the Capitals woes. I don’t think anyone would disagree with his first sentence:

Something has to change.

But Wise’s choice of Thing What Needs Changing is totally capricious, and I hope no one in the Capitals front office takes it seriously.

Mike Green has one more season left on his hefty $6M contract. While unloading that cash would be attractive for a cap-strapped team like Washington, it’s also pretty unlikely. Green’s value as a trade asset has plummeted in the last three years due with injury. Even if the Caps could convince another team to take him on, it seems unlikely that would happen without a) retaining some of his salary, or b) getting an inferior player in return.

And besides– and this part is important: Mike Green is good.

While Karl Alzner and John Carlson take on the toughest competition, Green is still the best on the Caps blue line at limiting opponent shot attempts. But despite that, Caps goalies are allowing more goals when he’s on the ice than any other D-man.

Player Opponent Shot Attempts / 20 Save %
Mike Green 17.2 91.5%
Nate Schmidt 18.3 93.1%
John Carlson 20.0 92%
Karl Alzner 19.2 92.1%
Steve Oleksy 19.3 94%

That save percentage goes a long way to explaining Mike Green’s awful plus-minus rating, which Wise identifies an indicator of Green’s problems.

This is the part where I point out that a Serious, Salaried Writer should not be using plus-minus to evaluate players. It’s a statistic that measures players by things that are beyond their control– their goalies’ save percentage and their linemates’ shooting percentages. It’s a volatile stat that doesn’t persist well from year to year. It’s noise.

I don’t want to dismiss legitimate criticisms of Green’s defense. He sees a lot of odd-man breaks, and he hasn’t exactly been spectacular at shutting them down.

But while Green’s coverage of those rushes has been bad, the problem of allowing them is a systemic one, not an individual one. The blame for all the breakaways falls on Adam Oates and defensive coach Calle Johansson. Moving Green won’t fix the problem, and it might make it worse.

That’s because the Capitals defensive corps is pretty shallow. If Green, who ranks second in time on ice, were to leave, it’d fall upon someone else to take those extra shifts. Someone like John Erskine or Connor Carrick.

Put another way: Green is a top-4 defenseman. If he’s gone, who steps up?

So far this has all been a discussion of Green’s defensive performance, but we shouldn’t discount his role on the powerplay. We went over this back in November, but Green is an excellent quarterback for the league’s third-best power play, where he ranks fourth in points and first among defensemen.

So, no. It is not time for the Washington Capitals to move Mike Green. Maybe three years ago it was, but not now. And that’s not to say the Caps shouldn’t make a move; they absolutely should. Just not this one.

The Capitals are overpaying Joel Ward, Brooks Laich, and Troy Brouwer. Martin Erat and Michal Neuvirth want to leave. Alex Ovechkin’s linemates don’t score.

Oates does not deploy his lines effectively. He pairs up forwards who do not play well together. His system doesn’t result in dominant puck possession. He plays the hot-hand goalie in back-to-back games. He scratches some of his best players.

Trading Green will solve exactly none of those problems. It will just introduce more.

I enjoy Mike Wise as a writer. His self-effacing style is always fun, and he’s certainly clever. I choose to read this column as only half-serious, as a genuine demand that something must change with the Capitals. We can all agree with that. But the actual substance of this column is shallow and capricious. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to read on only the most amateurish of Internet forums. Blogs.

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  • Freedoooom

    Situation which trading Green is acceptable: acquiring Edler without trading Green and signing Girardi.

    I don’t know if its just me, but I love Mike Green.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Mike Green slowly becoming the most underrated player on this team has been a very weird process. Is he worth 6 million a year? Probably not but top 4 defensemen with offensive ability like him don’t grow on trees. This organization should be very aware of that lol.

  • Rob W.

    As much as i dislike Green and think he is a “soft” defensemen, you make great points as to why we should keep him. great read.

  • Here’s the deal Jessica Beal, no one should be untouchable.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Peter isn’t saying he is untouchable. He’s saying that trading him when his value is at its lowest and when the return would be less than satisfactory would be stupid roster management. Added on to the fact that this team actually plays better with Mike Green on the ice.

  • Kevin Parlett

    I wish he would have led with his excellent analysis of +/- (with a subtle jab at Ovi) so I could of stopped reading at the start.

  • GMU

    The press in D.C. is unreal. There’s a fine line between reporting and trying to get your name out there. Not saying that Wise is trying to get publicity, but I feel like every member of major DC stretches far too far to get a major headline out there. Look at the Redskins this past year, every ant hill turned into Mount Everest.

    Sure, you can argue that the media has 0% on the on the field/ice outcome. At the same time they do effect the way your average fan consumes sport, which unfortunately is the majority of DC sports fans.

    This is my problem with DC sports. Call it a contradicting rant, but as a 21 year old DC sports fan I’m sick of seeing the local media try to stretch notions into a national headline. I agree with Wise, the Caps do need a change, but it isn’t going to be found in trading Green, who’s return would not come close to matching his value to this team

  • fingerman

    Can someone provide an answer to this question? Of course plus-minus is a stat that is dependent on what other players on your team are doing. But aren’t puck possession stats dependent on the other four skaters on your team as well? Opponent shot attempts/20, the stat cited here to prove that Green’s defensive performance isn’t as bad as it appears, depends on how well his defense partner and the forwards on the ice with him play. Isn’t this stat also measuring things beyond an individual player’s control–namely, how well his opponents possess the puck?

  • fingerman

    Also, I don’t think a trade of Green is the right move, but I do think the fact that the Caps have a defenseman making $6M a year who doesn’t play on the PK (I was out of town and didn’t see the last three games, but before that, he hasn’t played on the PK in weeks) and until recently was playing on the second PP unit after Carlson seems like a tremendously bad utilization of resources–either in paying Green too much or not using a well-paid, skilled defenseman enough.

  • Freedoooom

    Also more stats:


    Check out the GA20 on the PK. Hes always been a pretty damn good PKer his whole career, but he doesn’t get used very much and not much at all on a PK this year that is costing the Capitals badly lately.

  • Myan

    Great piece, Peter. i don’t think anyone can argue that the first 8 weeks or so of the season, Green was a liability but it seems like after he finally scored a goal, he suddenly started to play much much better. I thought he’s look pretty solid in the last 3 or so weeks and I’d even argue that he’s been one of our more consistent players during this god awful skid.

  • (Please forgive typos– my eyes are all jacked up.)

    Shot attempts have proven to be more reliable (season after season and split-half) than plus-minus, which indicate that it’s a skill players drive– though we know there are tons of factors that affect it like quality of competition, zone starts, opponents, team system, etc.

    When we say plus-minus measures stuff the player doesn’t control, I’m emphasizing your team’s sh% and your goalie’s sv% more than the shot attempts by other players

    Hope that helps.

  • fingerman

    Fair enough–I accept that shot attempts are more reliable than plus-minus. Just seems misleading to say that plus-minus measures stuff the player doesn’t control and not point out that Corsi or Fenwick also measure things the player can’t control (they maybe measure less things that the player can’t control, but they still measure them.)

  • I see what you mean, but a player who is good at playing in a good system will shoot more or help his linemates shoot more, and he’ll stop his opponents from shooting as much.

    But yeah, a good player could always set up a linemate who never gets the puck off, in which case his Corsi/Fenwick would suffer. I think that’s a weakness in using shot attempts, but I don’t think it’s devastating.

  • I think he’s a liability sometimes on odd man breaks, because he refuses to take away the pass completely, but other than that, I think he’s been really quietly having a great season. He’s also averaging more than a half point per game. Dude may end up having 50-60 points in an off year. This guy solves problems not creates them.

  • Chris Cerullo


  • Chris Cerullo

    Anything regarding the Skins I don’t even read anymore

  • Chris Cerullo

    The thing is IMO, Green should be on the PK and first unit PP. Not his fault the coaching staff doesn’t agree.

  • chuck s. not logged in

    The only thing more disgusting in the world of sports besides the philadelphia flyers is the love for mike green. is it really worth paying someone 6+ million a year to praise his entry level days? apparently it is…

  • jeffreyD

    Love the article because I’ve have defended Green on numerous occasions on different blogs and websites. He seems to have become so many Capitals fans favorite whipping boy and while his play has declined he’s still very good. The guy lead the NHL in goals from a defenseman last season in 14 less games and was on pace for 25-30 goals, which is absurd from a blue liner.

    Sure his game has probably declined a bit but he’s still a game breaking talent on a team that needs more goal scoring ability. Part of the problem might be with the caps defensive system. I sometimes wonder how mike green would thrive in a ducks uniform with Bruce Boudreau.

    Great point about how many odd man rushes he finds himself defending. That’s on the system and or his defensive partner.

  • Great, great rhyme, but I’m going to have to deduct points for spelling.

  • dylan wheatley

    look, mike green currently leads the team in hugcorsi, so trading him is a ridiculous idea.

  • scott

    I stopped listening to anything Mike Wise said years ago when he sat on tv for many nights trying to convince me the Caps would beat the Canadians after it was obvious Halak was hot and the Caps D was non existent as always.

  • Him having an opinion about the Caps winning or losing is not only fine, it’s part of his gig. So let’s give him a pass there. Him asking Bruce Boudreau about his job security the day before the playoffs began is something else http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/mike-wise-asks-bruce-boudreau-about-his-job-security/2011/04/12/AF0CvNRD_blog.html

  • Ryan Glynn

    Who should the caps trade and who would fit well on the team?

  • JenniferH

    Pfft, trade Mike Green. As if. Pfft! Or what your much more intelligibly-put together article said.

  • gustafsson16

    Its certainly not the most ideal pairing, but I have been surprisingly more comfortable with Green’s play since partnering with Orlov. Would be interesting to see the goalie save%s and opponent shot attempts since those 2 have been deployed together. Both are sometimes prone to getting caught with a bad pinch (and I fully expect Dima to make several gaffe’s which I expect of a young player), but since apparently our forwards have forgotten how to score, Im sure they feel like they have to contribute more offensively.

  • Jim Kelly

    Hey remember when we called for people’s heads so we could amorphously pursue the concept of more defense? Good times, huh?

  • Caps Nut

    So let me get this straight we can’t trade Mike Green because the fewer shots that are going in at a higher rater that are taken against him by inferior competition have nothing to do with his poor odd-man rush defense which is actually result of Oates system, we don’t have anybody else on the roster or in the system to take his place, and his value is so low, we wouldn’t get anything near value in return unless of course it is a total fire sale?

    Sounds like perfect GMGM logic to me.

    Green has to go. By no metric is he performing the way he is capable of or expected to. His defensive game hasn’t improved and his even offensive game has greatly declined.

    The problem is, I don’t trust GMGM one bit to make this move or any other move to improve this team. If Wise is guilty of anything, it is choosing the wrong target to move first. The sooner GMGM is dismissed, the better off the franchise will be and then we can look to giving this roster the overhaul it badly needs.

  • wewantrandyholt4

    As a defenseman he sucks….not that he can’t be good, he just wont. He is so afraid of being hit it prevents him from doing what he is paid to do. Every player in this league knows it and they exploit that fact. He is not an asset. If he can get his game back God bless him.

  • wewantrandyholt4

    Agree 100%

  • Shaun Phillips

    I think a lot of the vitriol against Green has to do with his bloated contract. Is he worth the 6m now? Probably not, but that’s not entirely his fault.
    1) I think GMGM overpaid a bit (but not by much). Look at offensive dmen (Karlsson, Subban) in the league now compared to dmen in Green’s first few seasons and where the salary cap was. I’m guessing they’d be fairly comparable.
    2) I think a lot of it has to do with unluckiness (injuries slowing him down the past few seasons) and
    3) management/coaching issues (3 different defensive schemes in 3 years, several new defensive partners, etc).

    All of these factors have led to his last few sub-par seasons, yet he’s still been one of the most productive offensive defensemen in the league. When his contract comes up again after next season, the cap should be significantly higher and hopefully he gets in the 4-6yr @ 4.5-5.5 mil range. Should give the Caps plenty of room to maneuver other contracts.

  • KW

    I disagree that Joel Ward is overpaid….maybe the others, but not Joel.

  • thiazzi

    “If Wise is guilty of anything, it is choosing the wrong target to move first.”

    Yes, that is precisely the argument this post is making, with facts and data to back up its position.

  • thiazzi

    I would accuse Wise of being a troll in the classic internet sense of the word, but I don’t think he is smart enough to be this effective of a troll.

  • harjot singh

    What an awesome article peter

  • Steven Lemmeyer

    I wouldn’t be heartbroken to see Green go. Never have liked him…probably due to the ratio of women hitting on him – logical analysis to trade him.

  • Michael Blaesing

    Great post

  • Barrett

    Me too, huge Mike Green fan. He is exactly like and getting the same treatment as Brian Campbell received years ago. I was hoping McPhee would make a move to acquire a true stay at home defenseman that’s very physical like Dion Phaneuf or Dan Girardi to pairs with MG52.

  • Barrett

    Few names I have heard as rumors are Matt Moulson of the Sabres and David Legwand of the Predators. Obviously the names to get shipped out are Erat and Neuvirth.

  • ErskSMASH

    somewhat off topic…regardless of any potential moves this season..if gmgm doesnt use the compliance buyout on laich this offseason i will have a stroke…dude’s contract is killin this club…. hes been playing like a 4th/3rd line grinder at best

  • JoeA

    OK geniuses, if you were to fire GMGM today, who would you choose to replace him?

    Your pick has to be someone who is A, AVAILABLE, B, POSSIBLY WILLING TO COME TO DC, and C, can actually do better than GMGM.

  • Alex

    I’ve never agreed with anyone who has said “trade Green NOW!!!” I’ve always been “that guy” when it comes to opposing commonly regurgitated notions. He’s a piece of the Caps’ puzzle that we sorely need; a defenseman who can quarterback our power play and generate offense from the point. And don’t start talking about how much he “sucks”. I’ve been watching his defensive play lately and have noticed that since returning from his previous injury, it has gradually improved to the point where no one can really come close to making the “defensive liability” argument. If there is a huge flaw anywhere, it’s turnovers by the forwards that lead to odd-man breaks the other way and leave the goalies out to dry.

  • johnnymorte

    Trade Green. Trade Backstrom. Trade Ovi! Trade everyone! Let Brouwer, Erat, and Neuvirth be the core of this team. They will lead us to victory.

  • 1Capsfan

    RMNB is “Godly” in my opinion…but wrong on this.
    Green is/has always been mistake prone, and while he improves sporadically for 2-3 game stretches, any REAL Caps fan ultimately sees him return to his error filled play, and he single-handedly is responsible for a plethora of goals against – just watch a game… He’s a liability out there every night, and his DRASTIC mistakes cost us goals against and forces everyone else to cover for these mistakes. Oates needs a BALANCED team with depth – NOT an offensive player disguised by a “Defensive” label. Wise is not a Hockey Guru, BUT he’s right that Green is NOT WORTH $6 MILLION. He’s also right that the rest of the league is infatuated with Green and actually OVER-values him because they don’t see the constant mistakes – they only see the highlight reels where he scores.
    This team HAS to change-Washington media is allowed to cut and paste the same “season summaries” every year because it’s always the same (“Hot Goalie,” “Failed to score,” “Lost steam..”) This piece offers the highest return in the market- not only in players we could get in return, but also in potential salary cap relief we stand to get.
    Sorry, but you will NEVER sell me that Green is worth $6 million – regardless of his Power Play prowess. Green has been overrated since his rookie year and if you find someone willing to take on a $6 million contract and you can assemble a team that is more well-rounded and CONSISTENT – YOU HAVE TO DO IT.
    Green is not worthless, that is why he needs to go. He carries value that can net us more benefit than he offers this team. Backstrom and Ovie are untouchable – fine – but who else are you going to deal for a REAL return (and yes – trades DO NEED to be made!)…no one wants Erat OR ANY OTHER DEFENSEMAN…a Third liner won’t return very much..coaches have a love affair with MoJo, Laich is overpaid ($4.5 million – another GREAT decision by GMGM!!!!) w/several years left and no one wants him, and Brouwer is back to true 3rd line stats.
    If you don’t trade Green, Neuvy is the only other piece, which GMGM will ultimately hold too long and wait for his value to decline because he’s once again overvalued a player. That’s what this is about…the OVER-VALUE GMGM has on THE WRONG PLAYERS.
    Green has value and this team needs a shake up. Losing his constant mistakes is addition by subtraction and would alert the rest of the team that no one’s safe – “Get busy living, or get busy dying.” This team has died every year since they went to the Cup…Unfortunately TRUE Cap fans are the only ones that see it…management doesn’t. That is why this team won’t go anywhere…until Ted steps up and fires GMGM.

  • 1Capsfan

    Right on!!!!!!! spot on accurate!!!

  • Alex

    Actually there have been rumors circulating about Wayne Gretzky being a candidate to succeed George McPhee. He has stated that he was interested in a front office position somewhere, most-likely as GM. He attended a Caps-Canadiens game on an invitation by Ted Leonsis in December, and McPhee is apparently in the final year of his GM contract. There was a report somewhere that listed the Caps and Kings as Gretzky’s most-likely choices, so that could be something. Also, he has publicly endorsed Ovechkin for the Hart Trophy on at least one occasion (last season for sure), and has nothing but great things to say about him. We all know that his coaching stint was nothing to write home about (but let’s be honest here, he was coaching the Coyotes…), but perhaps the 15 years or so since his playing career ended has allowed him to develop the kind of skills and insight needed to run an organization from the very top. I guess we’ll see what’s true and what isn’t.

  • johnnymorte

    Anybody. No, really. I mean that. How much cap space do we have? Look at our team on paper and then look at our position in the standings and look at the amount of times we’ve been past the second round. Big deal we’ve made the playoffs seven years in a row. I would have rather missed six playoffs and have one cup. I’m sure the faithful agree. 17 years is too long a tenure for any one man in power. This team is not engineered for greatness, it is engineered for consistent mediocrity. That has proven itself.over and over. Sorry to beat a dead horse but I don’t know how you don’t see it.

  • Boush

    I got to “veteran tough guy” and stopped reading. Was there more?

  • Bill Smith

    Anyone think Green could be converted to a forward similar to Brent Burns? He’s got a good shot and a pretty good sense in the offensive zone, and the Caps need someone other than Ovi putting the puck on net. Obviously they would have to bring in someone to replace him on the blue line hopefully by trading Erat. Also, Green would be less likely to get caught in the odd man rushes that have been his bane.

  • thiazzi

    A big name with no GM experience of any kind.

  • Owen Johnson

    Here’s the deal. Our D-corps is razor thin. Unless we’re getting Karlsson or Chara for him, I’d say forget it.

  • Owen Johnson

    AWESOME!!! How do I acquire him?
    -Daniel M. Snyder

  • JH

    Some points re: WIse and some of the commenters here:

    You know who has a worse +/- than Green (-13)? How about Ovechkin at -16. Should we trade him? Yeah, didn’t think so. Plus minus is of little value, as others have stated.

    Ward has one of the best shooting percentages in the league. I agree Laich and Brouwer are not performing to their contracts, but Ward just needs to put more pucks on the net.

    Erat’s trade value is pretty weak. He hasn’t made an impact at all. He’s only going to fit into a role where someone needs a 2nd or 3rd line LH shot. Journeyman wingers are a dime a dozen and that’s all he is unless and until evidence on the ice proves otherwise. Erat is the biggest disappointment on this team.

    Our defense is clearly a work in progress, but trading Green would leave a big hole, as Peter eloquently demonstrates. What worries me more is lack of offensive production lately. We should have lines that work by now. I’m all for moving Tom Wilson up and giving him more ice time.

  • JH

    Yep – that is right out of the Dan Snyder playbook. God, I hope not…..

  • 1Capsfan

    The defensive corp is weak…with him or without him. If you’re dealing Erat, a marginal/average Defenseman is an improvement. We’ve been counting goals against this year as a “direct result of a Mike Green Turnover…” it is STAGGERING how many goals against are a DIRECT RESULT of Mike Green. Gimme a decent skating, reliable DEFENSEMEN, which you can easily get in a trade OR the freeing up of $6 million/yr cap space, and build the defense instead of these patch jobs from Hershey. TOo many in at one time – that’s NOT how you build your D-Corps. It’s hurting them more than helping.

  • Frank Ricard

    GMU, I see where you are coming from with this, but I am going to have to argue the opposite. When it comes to hockey and the caps, this might be the first time in this town I have seen a member of the media ‘grow a pair’ and voice an actual opinion as if they are not a member of Leonsis’ personal marketing malarkey. Wise is putting himself out there and I commend him for that. People will agree and disagree but I believe this is progress with regards to Caps coverage.

  • Stardawg

    Mike Green has skills. He is currently playing in a system that doesn’t utilize his skills. I’m pretty sure even he would agree that he is not the best stay at home defensemen on the team. He is a puck moving defenseman, and if you watch the games closely you will notice that when he comes out from behind the his own net with the puck most of his teammates are gone. Nobody is open, his partner has started to break out of the zone looking for a pass and Green can’t do what he does best, carry the puck out of the zone. He is left with 3 choices, a suicide pass to his defense partner that the other team is waiting for, flip the puck in the air and hope a Caps forward can get the puck, or ice the puck off the boards and hope someone tips it to negate the icing. True, you don’t need a 6M defenseman to play this way, so we could trade him and continue to lose games but save money. This system the Caps are playing is wasting Mike Greens skills, killing the team and killing Mike Greens trade value. This team needs an experienced veteran NHL coach that can handle the “prima donnas” on this team and develop a system that utilizes the skill set this team possesses.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Your only real argument in this post is that he isn’t worth 6 million a year. Which I cant disagree with. The stats that actually matter back up Green’s play and you’re still missing out on the main point that without him we’d be seeing an increase in minutes for players that would be ten times worse. You’re making the assumption that teams and GMs that have been in this league for quite some time are just blinded by his offensive ability and flashy plays on NHL.com? That’s just stupid. His value on the trade market comes nowhere near his value to this team.

  • Adam Stringham

    I’d trade Green and Erat for Malkin and Matta (forget salary cap)…but seriously Green has been much better of late. The capitals are losing due to lack of scoring, at the moment, not because of bad defense.

  • thiazzi

    I’d have to take your word for it.

  • Chris Cerullo

    JP just said it perfect on twitter. “Right. Trade him and spend the next couple of years trying to replace him. Brilliant.”

  • Chris Cerullo

    And now Mr. Greenberg “#Caps Green is a top4 D in the NHL. Full stop. Trading him will not bring back close to acceptable value. Fin.”

  • Owen Johnson

    Honestly, I’d be ok with the Great One having a position in the front office somewhere. Just not GM.

  • Dave

    “But despite that, Caps goalies are allowing more goals when he’s on the ice than any other D-man.”

    Couldn’t this be causal, at least in part? We have visual evidence of his many mistakes directly leading to easy goals. Not all shot attempts are created equal.

    “Green’s value as a trade asset has plummeted in the last three years due with injury.”

    Also, didn’t his injuries come before his contract extension? His current contract started in the 2012-2013 season. In the two seasons prior to that, he played in 49 and 32 games. So his value should’ve plummeted *before* the current contract. This is another example of GMGM overpaying.

    Personally, I don’t think trading Green is the answer. As I, and many others, have been saying, the team needs another legit top 4 defensive defenseman to pair with Green. I don’t care if Green and Orlov’s possession numbers look good sometimes. They are clearly not solid defensively and give up way too many easy goals.

  • Stardawg

    Anyone with the last name Sutter

  • I can’t help but feel like this is all Jeff Schultz’s fault.

    He had one job, and that was to grow into a shutdown defenseman. If he does that, we’re not in our current predicament.

  • RT23

    Green certainly hasn’t been helping his own cause enough over the past few years but he is still one of the better Offensive D around and when compared to other Offensive D his actual D is better than many. As a rule Offensive D are going to look like a liability at times. On occasion they will get trapped up ice, be dogged after hustling back, or make too risky a pass. That is the nature of the beast. I grew up watching Potvin and it would be wonderful to have but actual solid full 2-way D are extremely rare. That’s why when you find a rock solid shut down D or a creative force from the blue line you should value them. When I moved to DC from LI we had Langway, Stevens and Murphy, great examples of 1-way players. Stevens was the closest thing to Potvin that we ever had and we never should have let him go but re the other 2…The fans adored Langway and ran Murphy out of town. Gee, whatever happened to him? I guess he never could have amounted to much. Same story with Gonchar.

    This team is desperate for offense. Green can help with that. I would like to see them encourage him to take more chances. I love Orlov and I think he has helped spark Green but I’d rather see each of them paired with a more D minded partner so they could really gamble. In a perfect world we would find or trade for a stay at home D to pair with Green and have Orlov be the catalyst of the 3rd pair, but in the meantime it might be worth another look at putting Orlov with Carlson and Green with Alzner.

    In exchange for more offensive freedom I would require Green to take a Masters level class in how to defend a 2 on 1. You’d think Calle would at least be able to teach him that.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Unless there is a weird hybrid version of Jessica Biel and Bradley Beal out there

  • KG

    How come nobody is saying it (well I do know why, we all love him), but Calle is clearly having issues as the D-Coordinator. We probably should have retained Jim Johnson when we had the chance.

  • Michael Woolford

    No one should be above trade consideration. Especially a soft d-man prone to injuries and turnovers who acts like he doesn’t give a darn.

  • KG

    What makes a defenseman “soft,” in your opinion?

  • KG

    I think your shot against vs shots made stats don’t hold up. If a shot goes in, there is no chance for a rebound, therefor there are less shots to be had on a given play.

    Greenie’s the most aggressive D-Man we have, joining the rush and pinching, and many times this cost him. It seems like he’s had trouble holding the line this year, when his passes get intercepted along the blueline and he left to play catch up.

    How many goals have we seen this season that start as a 2-on-1 and end up with Green laying on his belly in between two skaters?

  • Rob W.

    i dont think he is aggressive enough in his own end and he can be a little lackadaisical in the offensive zone with his passes. When things go bad he seems to feel sorry for himself. He needs to play a little more pissed off. Just my opinion

  • Barrett

    Yes, he’s not worth $6mil per year right now, but he was from 2007-2010
    before he battled injuries. From 2010-2012 (two seasons) he only played
    81 games and last year during the lockout shortened season he led all
    NHL defenseman in goals. He also leads this Capitals team in total
    points for defenseman, no one is even close to his assist production.
    The “top” defense pair of Carlson and Alzner has 9 goals and 19 assists,
    two points more than Mike Green alone.

    How about instead of
    dumping Mike Green, you try to acquire a player that complements him?
    Trade for or sign in free agency a player like Dan Girardi of the
    Rangers, Andrew MacDonald of the Islanders, Mark Stuart of the Jets,
    Nikita Nikitin of the Blue Jackets, Anton Belov or Nick Schultz of the

  • Barrett

    You shouldn’t be asking “why is Mike Green doing this or that on an odd-man rush?” it should be “why is Mike Green always in the position to defend an odd-man rush to begin with?”

    Against the Rangers he got hung out to dry twice by Dimitri Orlov with his turnover to Rick Nash early in the 1st period and again on Callahan’s short handed goal.

    It wasn’t but a few weeks ago he got blasted for not defending multiple 2v1 odd man rushes and a 3v1 odd man rush correctly, but nobody wanted to point out how or why he was in those scenarios to begin with.

    Nobody seems to want to point out John Carlson’s mistakes, or Karl Alzner’s mistakes and they both have had plenty of them. Alzner was the reason the Rangers had the power play which resulted in Derek Stepan’s goal 1 second after it expired.

  • adam

    mike wise is a tool

  • adam

    only time you ever hear from him is when caps are losing

  • Barrett

    Show me all the “staggering” goals with video evidence that are a direct result of Mike Green and if you’re right I’ll agree to trade him. For example against the Rangers he was a -3, NONE of the goals against were a direct result of his poor play or decision making.

  • Barrett

    Brent Burns made the transition back to his natural position of being a forward. He was converted to a defenseman by then Minnesota Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire because of his 6′-5″ 220lbs frame. Completely different scenario by converting a defenseman who has never played forward before.

  • Shawn Murphy

    nailed it man. NAILED IT

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Regardless of who moves, something has to be done to break this streak. Heres my ideas thus far.

    1.) Egg George Mcphee’s Office leaving IOU’s for damages.
    2.) Block Party at Ian Oland’s house, drink the beer leave the mess.
    3.) Keep Mike Green, Cosmo’s sexiest man.

    Any Takers?

  • Alf_Silfversson

    Ottawa here. We’ll take him! It’s unfair to keep him away from Erik.

    You can have a big, young top-ten drafted d-man who drops the gloves. Sound fair?

  • gustafsson16

    To think that this organization was once carried by its defense and lacked superstar offensive players…those days of 92-93 when we had 3 D with 20 goals seems a distant memory. Ideally, I’m in full agreement – match puck moving D with stay at home D. But bottom line, we can’t do our usual GMGM solution of trade promising future for rental player at end of career. We need a strong in their prime D, and the problem is these are a commodity that a) most teams wouldn’t dream of trading, b) we have nothing of value to offer for and c) are so cash strapped by stupid contracts that we probably couldn’t re-sign. I personally don’t think there is a solution. The best scenario is that we let these young D learn under fire in the bigs and hope it speeds their development.

  • ZyphZorg

    “something must change with the Capitals. We can all agree with that.”

    “General managers last a lot longer than coaches in the NHL, but they get
    only a couple of kicks at canning a coach before they have to pay for
    the decisions as well. McPhee now has [four] coaching strikes against him.
    With only a handful of exceptions, general mangers rarely get more than


  • JH

    I concur with Barrett – show me how many goals are a “DIRECT RESULT” of Mike Green. News flash – we have a ton of “marginal/average defensemen.” Another from an Erat trade doesn’t help build the D-corps. Green is generally acknowledged as one of the best pure skaters in the league. The 2 on 1s where Ian criticizes Green for not effectively defensing didn’t begin on a Green pinch or turnover. He was actually the furthest guy back, which is why he is in a position to defense them at all. I would add that the PP is a totally different animal without him. There are two people who get criticized no matter what: Green and GMGM. If only things were so simple.

  • Bill Smith

    I’m aware of Brent Burns situation. I also doubt that Green has never played forward in his life. He has good offensive instincts and, according to many caps fans, is a terrible defensemen. Clearly the transition wouldn’t be done during the season, and I’m sure it won’t ever happen. It was just a thought.

  • JH

    Exactly. Well said, Barrett.

  • JH

    Only time you hear from most WaPo columnists re: Caps is when they’re losing. It would be nice if the mainstream press/columnists would take a little more time to understand the game better. This ain’t hoops.

  • nobody cares

    Finally this discussion….its not as if the recent struggles are the reason why, since Mike got popped in the head he hasnt played the same. The lazy clearing attempts and passes, that are frequently stopped before the neutral zone come to mind. Absolutely NOBODY fears the crease when Mike Green is on the ice. Mike Green, the guy you go shopping for sweet V neck sweaters and pea coats, not a guy you worry about crushing you on the ice…Trade him….

  • 1capsfan

    Just to be clear – you want me totally ignore teh December Tampa Bay Lightning game where he almost single handedly ruined the game with four minor penalties and a 10 minute misconduct? If you have not seen all his flubs, errant passes to the other team that led to goals against, you’re simply not watching the Caps very closely! One game doesn’t make or break a player, but we watch the games as a Group and wait for the replays to confirm. Green gives up the puck due to lackidazical play, carelessness, and stupid mistakes. Just watch his play! Look, I think Wise has NO creditbility re: hockey, I agree with that, but the question has to be “what generates a return on investment.” This team’s defense is atrocious, I agree, but my only point is that Green is NOT the God that the management of this team thinks he is. I’d love to get game tapes, but from here on out – take a sincere, objective look at his game for the rest of the year and watch the replays when they are scored against. Now that it’s in your head, you’ll notice how often HE makes these mistakes or hands the puck over to the other team. And it’s not JUST goals against – he is responsible for odd man rushes all day long. Believe it or not… I am a HUGE Caps fan. I come back every year for this pain – but $6 million???

  • Barrett

    I didn’t say ignore anything. I said show me the evidence. Is he worth the $6mil? Heck no. Currently nobody on this roster is earning their pay, Ovechkin included.

  • anewca

    try green at forward? worked for burns, maybe that will provide the spark in the offense we need. Trade someone else (laich, neuvi, erat, draft picks, etc) for a top 4 defensemen.

  • RY

    “a jumble of ill-advised analysis culminating in that titular recommendation, which doesn’t make sense”

    Doesn’t that describe every Caps article in the Post?

  • JD Hixs

    He is overpaid. In my mind he’s the prime sell high candidate on the team. He’s been a chump outside of the first half of this year. The fact he’s doing well may be the only way we’re going to be able to get something for him. He’s a good possession guy, but I think he’s got a bit of a ‘will to compete hard’ issue most of the time. You can’t build a better team by trying to only sell your players who aren’t performing well. Sell, sell, sell…

    That said, can’t sell Green. If we had more depth at D I would say he’s a sell high candidate too though. He doesn’t seem like he’ll ever be “Game Over Green” on a regular basis again. I just don’t think you need that many offensive D-men on a team. A studly shut-down guy can look good possession wise too.

  • Brandon Dorsey

    Why not try to trade brooks laich ? His production isn’t there anymore he’s consistently hurt and doesn’t play at a high level sure he’s a fan favorite but at what point does it help with actually winning a game ? The caps could get something decent out of it

  • FFGM NOW!!!

    mike green is the best defenseman on team. carlson makes just as many stupid mistakes, but always seems to get bailed out by a nice save. no other d-man in the world can move the puck like mike green. his offense is too valuable to lose, and i constantly see him diving to block shots and making good poke-checks. anyone who thinks green is the problem needs to actually watch some games. the problem is the caps offense, not their defense. 2 goals in their last 3 is embarrassing.

  • FFGM NOW!!!

    even all-pro bullsh!tter oates ran out of excuses for tonights loss. heres one, mcphail. ive never seen a more overpaid joke of an nhl team. we had one of the best teams in the history of the game, and 3 losses led mcphee to destory us, piece by piece. the best thing that mcphee could possibly do to help the caps is just quit. any other move would only worsen us, such as trading green.

  • Eric Schulz

    We paid Ward because of what he did in 2 series… which was FAR AND AWAY better than he has ever performed in his career. It’s a GMGM staple: buy high. He’s played well for us so far this year, and he’s certainly a solid player, but he’s really just a very good 3rd line winger. That’s not bad, and I don’t have a problem with him, but he’s certainly overpaid. JD Hixs nailed it on the sell high point also; we don’t have a lot of assets, he would be a smart one to think about moving. Brouwer was on pace for 33-22–55 last season; he’s been much worse so far this season, but this season isn’t indicative of his skill level (last year may have been an aberration the other way, but he’s certainly closer to that than he is this). Laich was a very good player for us before stringing a few injuries together; we have guys we could look to in order to replace Ward should we move him. I’m not sure I would, but I would hope we would at least consider it (although, with GMGM, I kind of hope he doesn’t consider any trades, because whatever trades he makes will be wrong).

  • Eric Schulz

    Eric Schulz.

  • Eric Schulz

    Don’t forget that defense leads to offense. I’m not sure how much of that is on OUR defense currently, but don’t just look at the goals and blame the forwards, realize that if we take the puck away, or at least limit shots before covering the puck then getting a faceoff, that would lead to more chances in the offensive zone. I’ve only watched, say, 3 of our last 8 games, so I can’t say if that’s been the problem, but over the last two or three years, I’d say we have had some problems with our 2nd and 3rd defensive pairings getting the puck out of the zone. Not sure how much is on Green, and I agree we can’t trade him (just don’t see getting back proper value), but something to consider.

  • Eric Schulz

    Read your second sentence, then defend the third sentence.

  • Eric Schulz

    He’s not above consideration, but logically looking at it, I don’t see a scenario where we get back even close to fair value (and clearly RMNB agrees). Sure, if a trade was out there that we liked, he wouldn’t be off-limits, but what team would be willing to give us a nice player for Green? Everybody else in the league has access to the same tape that we do, and they aren’t going to make a move for him without looking at the tape and seeing his contract.

  • Eric Schulz

    How about try Laich on defense? We moved him there before, and he seems to have lost something with regards to point production. He probably just needs to get healthy, but we also have too many 2nd and 3rd line wingers as it is (thank you, Forsberg trade, that was awesome).
    Perhaps we could pair him with Green and have a much better top-4 (Carlson – Alzner, then Green – Laich), and just ask Laich to play a simple game, and worry about defense and allow Green more freedom to freelance. I feel like it’s a gamble worth taking, because I’d think that Laich would better be able to complement Green than the more offensive minded guys he’s been paired with.

  • Eric Schulz

    I just want to get mad about GMGM again (I don’t WANT to, he brings this on himself): remember when we traded Flash for Scott Hannan? Why did we let Hannan walk again? I mean, I haven’t watched him play that much over the last few years, so maybe he’s declined more than I realize, but it certainly seems like he’d be a nice physical defender, something that we really, really need. On paper, I like him as the final top-4 piece, lending some physicality on a pair with Green.

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  • 1capsfan

    IF there is a player that pairs with Green and makes Green a better player; perhaps reduces his mistakes (again – watch Devils game – another Mike Green Error resulted in a Goal against…) and makes him more well rounded – TOTALLY up for it. I think it’s an interesting concept to grab an Andrew MacDonald (if they can get him) and pair him with Green. Orlov with him has disaster written ALL OVER IT and it is embarrassing Oates doesn’t realize this! He’s a “Mike Green, Jr.” I have long thought Green is quite overrated and would rather see a more consistent two-way D-man in his place (I agree, this team’s d-stinks with OR without him…), BUT if there’s a compliment player that makes Green more responsible -it’s a very valid argument. He was more defensively responsible under Hunter, and if he played more like THAT -he’s worth keeping with the right pairing. I like MacDonald and wonder what they’d need to trade him. With the scoring ability on this team – they shouldn’t HAVE to rely on Defense to score.
    All I’m trying to say is 1) Green is NOT worth $6 million, and 2) IF you can get a strong return {Ideally a returning defensemen to take his place…} at a lower salary cap – you have room to find another quality D-man (NOT Hamrlik!! ha haa). I have watched Green constantly screw up and play lackadaisical hockey and even Bruce Boudreau sold him out on how fragile he is. I feel if GM’s want him because they think he’s THAT good – he’s a perfect player to move if you want to send a message, but I agree you HAVE to have a replacement in mind.

    Instead, GMGM will trade away high picks for players that don’t fit in, resign Erskine to another $2 million/yr contract, collect up his trade demand/requests from players that are fed up, and inevitably keep doing nothing that is productive for the team and their future.

  • Bryan Gleason

    “Not worth $6 million”

    You keep saying this, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.
    You said it yourself, Green isn’t worthless and is great on the Power Play. Why would we do something detrimental like trade away our Power Play QB, which is one of the best aspects of this team?

  • Bryan Gleason

    I agree. Most of these players are Bruce’s guys. They’re O guys. They’re not Oates guys. Oates is trying his best to make them his guys, but they’re just not. Damn Hershey grads.