Mike Green

Caps defenseman Green: “I want to play more”


Easing oneself into the lineup after major surgery is a pretty standard NHL routine.

That said, Mike Green wants none of it.

The Caps blueliner made his return to action in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Tampa — his first game since Jan. 17 — and was pleased with how his surgically repaired abdomen responded after 14:14 of ice time.

So please, in fact, that he asked head coach Dale Hunter for more ice time.

“Fourteen minutes felt like four minutes for me,” Green told NHL.com. “I told [Hunter] I want to play more, that I feel good, so we’ll see.”

Green said the sports hernia surgery corrected a longstanding issue with his skating stride and that he felt improvement “almost immediately” after going under the knife. As such, he wants to jump right back into a full-time role, likely due to Washington’s place in the Eastern Conference standings (10th place, 63 points.)

“For the longest time before the surgery, even though I wasn’t sore, I didn’t have my skating stride,” Green said. “I couldn’t skate as well as I used to.”

Hunter dressed seven defensemen for the Lighting game — Green, Dennis Wideman, Karl Alzner, Roman Hamrlik, Jeff Schultz, John Carlson and Dmitri Orlov — with Carlson (22:51) and Alzner (20:39) leading the way in terms of ice time. The Caps head coach said he might employ the same seven-man unit against Carolina tonight.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.