Mike Green

Here’s your daily Mike Green update

Sounds like Washington defenseman Mike Green will return to action next week, thereby ending PHT’s award-winning coverage of his injured groin.

/pours liquor out

Green took part in his third consecutive practice on Thursday, a big step given he’s missed 21 games with a strained right groin muscle (and suffered a couple of recovery setbacks as well.) While optimistic about this latest development, Green was cautious in putting a timetable on his return.

“I’ll skate tomorrow again, see how I feel,” Green told the Washington Post. “You never know. Maybe I could play [this weekend]. But it looks like next week.

“I think we want to play this safe. Obviously been out for a long time and I want to get back, but I want to make sure I’m ready to play. No need to put myself in a dangerous situation if I’m not ready.”

The two-time Norris Trophy finalist would be a huge addition the Washington lineup. Green hasn’t been available since Dale Hunter took the coaching reigns Nov. 28 — even though he’d like his star defenseman back, the Caps bench boss is also preaching patience.

“He must be feeling pretty good,” Hunter said. “But it’s still a medical decision. Players always want to play, we’ve got to make the right decision for his injury.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the Caps blueline shakes out upon Green’s return. A noted offensive defenseman, Green will rejoin a group that’s already producing some serious offense — Dennis Wideman (23 points) and John Carlson (22) are both in the NHL’s top-10 in defensemen scoring while Karl Alzner is on pace to set a career high in points.

Friday’s loss serves as ‘harsh lesson’ for Blue Jackets

Jasper Fast, Nick Foligno, Henrik Lundqvist
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Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.

Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.

Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.

The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.

“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.

Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.

The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.

“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”



Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?