Mike Green speaks about Capitals' Round 1 loss

green.jpgAs much heat as Alex Ovechkin and Bruce Boudreau received (and will continue to catch) for the Washington Capitals’ stunning first round loss to the Montreal Canadiens, it’s quite possible that no one was under the French fry lamp quite like Mike Green. Much of that negative attention comes with a second consecutive Norris Trophy nomination, but either way the young offensive defenseman is often criticized for his work in his own end.

Green finally met with the media today after dodging typical opportunities on two occasions. Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post gathered some of his thoughts. Here’s a few of the highlighted questions and answers.

Q: What needs to be different so you don’t have another [letdown] in next year’s postseason?
A: I think mentally I was preparing myself for the playoffs to play strong defensively. When all season you’re an offensive-minded player, and you get criticized about your defensive play, you try to adjust to become that complete player. Going into the playoffs, I wanted to play strong defensively. And maybe that [affected] my offense.”

Q: So was there too much going on in your [mind]?
A: When that gets into your head, you tend to not do the right things at the right times. You just have to be better.

Q: What were your raw emotions after the loss?
A: It was overwhelming. You almost want to cry. It’s disappointing. [Tearing up slightly.] The way I felt after that game is something I hope I never feel again. The expectations we had upon ourselves and what happened … The tough part for me is that it takes 82 more games to get another opportunity. That’s a long time.

That 82-game gap must be interminable, something that the San Jose Sharks could relate to. In the fishbowl of a 7-game series, three games seems like an eternity yet when you compare that stretch to full season it’s next to nothing. Yet that’s what makes the playoffs nerve-wracking and brilliant; any team can seize an advantage and beat a juggernaut.

I’ll leave you with Green’s reasoning for missing the 2010 IIHF World Championships and perhaps some explanation regarding his disappointing playoff output?

Q: Tough decision not to play in worlds?
A: Yeah, it is. I would have loved to go. But I did have an injury and George [McPhee] felt that I shouldn’t go.

Q: What was the injury?
A: My wrist. … I took a slash against Columbus [April 3].

Q: Need surgery? How much did it affect you?
A: No. It didn’t affect me that much. It’s just [that] it’s not going to get better if I keep playing.

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    Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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    The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

    After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

    Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

    Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

    As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

    The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

    Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

    They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

    The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

    Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

    Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


    Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

    That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

    Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

    “Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

    In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

    One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

    Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

    Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

    Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


    Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

    OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

    Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

    For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

    You can watch all three goals in the video above.

    It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

    Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

    John Tortorella

    Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

    Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

    You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

    (He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

    As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

    Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

    In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.