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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    Report: Markov wants $12 million over two years from Montreal

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    At the draft, Montreal GM Marc Bergevin said his club had many roster holes.

    Now he knows the cost of filling one.

    Per TVA, veteran blueliner Andrei Markov is seeking a two-year, $12 million extension to stick with the club — one that would carry a $6M cap hit, up slightly from the $5.75M he was making on his previous deal.

    Markov, an unrestricted free agent, is 38 but coming off a pretty productive year — he scored 36 points in just 62 games played, and averaged 21:50 TOI per night.

    His ice time significantly jumped in the playoffs, up to 26:09 in Montreal’s opening-round playoff loss to the Rangers.

    Bergevin has said he’d like to have Markov back, but noted the club has limits. The term of Markov’s reported ask isn’t too unwieldy — it’s a two-year commitment — but the cap hit could be an issue. Remember, Bergevin is also trying to re-sign last year’s second-leading scorer, Alex Radulov. Alex Galchenyuk needs a new deal as well.

    (Unless he’s traded.)

    On top of all this — oh yes, there’s more — is the looming contract extension for Carey Price. The star goalie is heading into the last year of his deal and eligible to sign an extension on July 1, which promises to be a monster contract. Price is currently the NHL’s fifth highest-paid netminder at $7 million per, but could join Sergei Bobrovsky and Henrik Lundqvist as the only goalies to earn more than $8M annually.

    Which brings us back to Markov who, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, is representing himself in negotiations. One has to think that dollar figure will come down, especially if Montreal starts entertaining other options — like Karl Alzner, the former Caps d-man who says he’s interested in playing in Montreal.

    Whatever the case, Bergevin is going to have to address this situation soon. There are plenty of moving parts, but rounding out the defense has to be near the top of his priority list. Right now Montreal has just five blueliners under contract: Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Brandon Davidson, Jordie Benn and David Schlemko.

    Alzner wants long-term deal, says he’s interested in Habs

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    You can hardly blame Karl Alzner for wanting to cash in July 1.

    Not that he’s hard up for money or anything, but the last contract Alzner signed in Washington was a club-friendly deal that paid him $11.2 million over four years. That’s a cap hit of just $2.8 million for a guy that plays top-four minutes against tough competition.

    Now an unrestricted free agent, Alzner’s got the opportunity to make much more on the open market.

    He wants some security, too.

    “I will wait to see my options, but I am only 28 years old and I can tell you that I would like to get a long-term contract,” Alzner told Le Journal de Montréal (translated). “It is always attractive for a player to be able to settle in the same city for a long time. It would be my dream to sign a long-term agreement.”

    Alzner added that the Canadiens are an intriguing team that he’d be willing to join. He also said that talks with the Capitals seem to have stalled.

    Related: Alzner meets with Vegas, but will test free agency

    Brendan Smith still talking to Rangers, ‘trying to make it happen’

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    It’s only a few days until July 1 and defenseman Brendan Smith still doesn’t have an extension in place with the New York Rangers.

    Not to worry, says his agent. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Smith is going to sign elsewhere.

    “No one should read anything into the fact that we don’t have a deal yet,” Anton Thun told the New York Post. “You’re never really close until it’s done, but both sides are trying to make it happen. We’ll have to see.”

    Thun told the Post a month ago that Smith, an unrestricted free agent, was “open” to returning to the Rangers.

    But there’s also been speculation that the Blueshirts will pursue Kevin Shattenkirk in free agency, which would probably mean less money available for Smith.

    It remains to be seen if the Rangers will, indeed, make a big push for Shattenkirk. The addition of Anthony DeAngelo in the Derek Stepan trade may have lessened their urgency in that regard.

    “He’s a puck-moving right-handed defenseman that can run the power play and shoot the puck,” GM Jeff Gorton said of DeAngelo, per Sporting News.

    Which sounds a lot like Shattenkirk, no?

    Smith, 28, was traded to the Rangers from Detroit on Feb. 28.

    Sens extend McCormick — two years, $1.3 million

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    Looks as though forward Max McCormick has a future in Ottawa.

    On Tuesday, the Sens signed McCormick to a two-year extension worth $650,000 annually — and, perhaps most importantly, it’s a one-way deal in the second year.

    McCormick, 25, also has a $250,000 guaranteed AHL salary next season.

    The deal comes after he set a career high and tied for the AHL Binghamton team lead in goals last year, with 21. McCormick also appeared in seven games for Ottawa — this after playing 20 in ’15-16 — and emerged as a high-energy guy with an edge to his game.

    Despite not being overly big (5-foot-11, 188 pounds), McCormick fought seven times for Binghamton last season, and led the team in penalty minutes. The year prior, he scrapped 12 times between the Sens and Baby Sens.

    A spot at the NHL level could soon materialize. The Sens have already announced they’re moving on from free agent forward Chris Neil, and the futures of fellow UFAs Viktor Stalberg, Chris Kelly and Tommy Wingels remain uncertain.