Suspension won’t change the way Mike Green plays

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It’s natural to wonder if a player will change his ways in the wake of the embarrassment and financial loss that comes with a suspension. When asked if a three-game suspension would alter his approach, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green told the Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir that it wouldn’t be the case.

“It was an accident,” Green said. “I’m not going to change the way that I play. I didn’t feel like I did anything vicious or anything like that.”

But “you just got to be careful; you don’t want to put anyone in danger,” he added. “Maybe I’ll hold up a little bit, but I’ll definitely always finish my check, body-to-body.”

El-Bashir brought up an area of Green’s game that does need to change – and a real eye-opener in that. You might have been aware that Green hasn’t been the double-edged sword of a force this season, but chew on this: he hasn’t registered a single point under Dale Hunter.

Green explained it away as a stylistic change and somewhat stunningly seemed happy about a simpler game plan that means less offense. (Or at least he made such a point on the record.)

“It’s a lot easier, simpler game to play under Dale, which is a good thing,” Green said. “In the past, I was expected to get up in the play and score and make plays and be back. It was a lot of work. I still feel like could do that. But my role has changed here. And that’s fine with me.”

It’s hard for me to believe that Green – a pending restricted free agent* with a lot of money to gain or lose in the coming months – is really gushing over his altered role.

As much as people beat up on him for his defensive lapses (fair or not), the guy has displayed rare scoring skills for a blueliner and is still deep in what should be his prime years at 26. Washington is in a good position to make the playoffs – and maybe even with their division – right now, but a rejuvenated Green sure would do a lot to make them a scarier playoff opponent.

* – CapGeek lists him as a restricted free agent. It’s an interesting situation because Green will turn 27 on Oct. 12, which would likely fall just a few days after the 2012-13 season starts.