A lot has been made about how new head coach Barry Trotz will handle Alex Ovechkin and Washington’s offense, but what about defenseman Mike Green? Green surpassed the 70-point mark in back-to-back seasons and was a Norris Trophy nominee twice, but he was slowed down by injuries and hasn’t been the same since.
Still just 28 years old, Green has become “an enigma,” as former bench boss Adam Oates put it. Not only have the questions about his defensive play that have followed him thorough his career persisted, but his offensive production has declined dramatically.
Getting more out of Green in his contract season could go a long way towards pushing Washington back into the playoffs, but at first Trotz wasn’t sure if he was a “good fit” for that job. More specifically, Trotz was concerned that his direct approach wouldn’t be the best for Green. His opinion has changed after talking to the blueliner.
“I’m really excited about the possibilities of what (Green’s) capable of doing,” Trotz told CSN Washington. “Once you find out about people … this summer was really enlightening for me. Talking with him on the phone and meeting with him here (at Kettler) sort of reconfirmed what my instincts were telling me about Mike, that he has the same goals that I do.”
For his part, Green wants to start producing like he used to while also being responsible without the puck. He might end up playing alongside defensive defenseman Brooks Orpik.
Of course, whether or not Trotz can get the most out of Green is only part of the equation. Green has only played in 186 of a possible 294 games over the last four seasons due to a variety of injuries. Trotz obviously can’t help him turn his career around unless he stays out of the team’s sickbay.