Photo: Geoff Burke

If there’s one person who truly is an insider of the NHL, it’s TSN’s Bob McKenzie. While speaking on Montreal’s TSN 690 Monday, McKenzie spoke about the future of Capitals defenseman Mike Green. He believes the UFA will dealt by GM Brian MacLellan before the NHL’s trade deadline March 2nd.

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what-the-hell

Jack Hillen continues to have the worst luck. In the second period, with the Caps up 1-0, the team gave up what might be the dumbest goal of the season. As Hillen and Mike Green went for a loose puck along the team’s offensive blue line, they collided hard. Center Evgeny Kuznetsov completed the hockey bowling metaphor by crashing on top their fallen bodies.

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alex-ovechkin-mike-green-selfie

If there’s one person who’s excited for this year’s Winter Classic, it’s Alex Ovechkin. The Russian machine went nuts on Instagram this morning, posting a bunch of photos and dizzying video before their 11:30am practice.

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Barry Trotz’s Weapon: Ice Time

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Photo credit: Rob Carr

On Saturday night, Nate Schmidt and Andre Burakovsky sat out as the Capitals faced the Devils in Newark. Tom Wilson, the first line right wing, was also benched for most of second period. Barry Trotz’s weapon is ice time, and he uses it.

For Schmidt, it was his first scratch of the season, coming on the heels of excellent play alongside Mike Green throughout the year. The game before, Schmidt had misplayed Blue Jackets forward Michael Chaput, who scored a game-tying goal late in the game.

“Sometimes you have to reset players when they’re not going very well,” Trotz said the benchings. “You have to give them a little jolt.”

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fehr-scores-knees

Fehr watches the puck go in from his knees.

Mike Green was a hockey Istari all Thursday night, but never more than he was in overtime.

In the first shift after rego, Mike Green piloted yet another controlled entry into the Columbus zone. Green’s fake shot forced Jack Johnson to revert to his initial form– the NHL’s version of Magikarp. Then Green sailed below the goal line, earning enough space to give Eric Fehr a gorgeous layup.

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green-stick

Sometimes I hate writing about individual plays, because some people think it makes the man. It doesn’t. Even when John Scott blows by Brooks Orpik for a goal.

So when I show you this Mike Green turnover, I want you to remember that Green has been the Capitals best defender this season and I’m 90% writing about this because of what happened afterwards.

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epix-poster

Tonight at 10 PM, the first episode of EPIX’s Road To The Winter Classic will air online featuring (hopefully) organic, not-at-all-contrived coverage of the team we love (also the Chicago Blackhawks). I admit I’m super excited for all the right reasons (pageviews!). Some old RMNB footage might even make a short cameo on the show.

EPIX has posted exclusive photos, featuring some fantastic portraits of Caps stars.

I have a feeling at least half of you are going to be very excited to continue scrolling. I even included a few GIFs and a video too.

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Mike Green, Bottom-Pairing Defenseman: Part Two

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

Last week, Peter offered up some thoughts on Mike Green and his deployment as a “third-pair” defenseman.

Some commenters believe that, and I’m paraphrasing here, Green is a dominant possession player primarily because he plays against weaker competition. But is quality of competition that much of a driving force behind why Green is doing so well at shot-attempt differential? Does Brooks Orpik suffer at the same because of the tougher opponents he faces? If they swapped assignments, would Green would become Orpik in possession and vice versa?

I have doubts.

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pierre-lebrun

Last night, TSN Insider’s Trading panel discussed a number of topics, including the Oilers’ shortcomings, Jay Feaster’s Twitter jab, and a potential re-tool in Arizona. They also talked about Caps general manager Brian MacLellan, whose patience with the team is allegedly running thin.

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Mike Green, Bottom-Pairing Defenseman

Tommy M gave me a hard time in the comments the other day.

I’d like to point to Green and Schmidt’s fancy stats. Are those two really our best defensemen? Should they be seeing the opposing teams toughest competition as Orpik and Carly are?

Tommy was kind of sticking it to me, which is totally fair, but I think he raises an interesting point. What does it mean for Brooks Orpik to be a first-pair guy and Mike Green to be a third-pair guy? How would they fare if roles were switched?

For background, Schmidt and Green, when healthy, are undoubtedly the Capitals’ third defensive pair. The best way to judge that is ice time, but it’s also reflected in the quality of competition they face. Whatever the measurement, Orpik is tops and Green is bottom. Even compared to defenders across the league, Green and Schmidt are in the bottom third. Green is at the very top of that bottom third, but he’s still down there.

That’s curious. His usage means that Barry Trotz has adjudicated Green to be inferior to as many as four other Caps defenseman, who all get more ice time, but Green’s performance is actually among the best in the league. Maybe Tommy is right and Green’s deployment against weaker competition is making look Green better than he is.

(Nope.)

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