Are you kidding me, Mike Green?
On what planet must a defenseman have been assimilated to have the ability to score that many goals in a season?
Tonight Green scored the game-tying and game-winning goals in Washington’s nervy 5-3 win over the Islanders, both after assisting on Alex Ovechkin’s 54th of the year. The assist was No. 40 of the season for Green, who now has more assists than any defenseman who’s not on the Detroit power play, and the goals were Nos. 29 and 30. Repeat: 29 and 30. In his 63rd game.
It’s the first time a defenseman has done THAT in 17 years (Kevin Hatcher — who? — was the last). His goals per game is 14th in the NHL!
This year and for much of last year as well, one supposes, Green has been an unstoppable offensive dynamo on the Washington offense, not that you didn’t know that. He scores, he passes, he eats big minutes, and his team, despite a really fairly shallow defensive pool from which to draw and not-great goaltending, doesn’t give up the amount of goals it probably should.
The knock on Green, obviously, has always been the fact that he seems to be only an offensive defenseman which, given the numbers (70 points!), is not unreasonable assumption, but in his latest look at the best defensive defensemen in hockey this year, James Mirtle pointed out that Green is also having the 10th-best season among NHL defensemen in his own end (this number is based on goals against per 60 minutes at even strength and shorthanded, plus quality of competition). Not that 10th is an outstanding number, but it is certainly better than I imagine most would suspect.
He’ll also isn’t afraid to get a little physical (see his hit tonight on Timmy Jackman) and he blocks a good amount of shots (101 in 63 games).
So there goes the argument that he’s soft and one-dimensional.
Why is there even a discussion about who should get the Norris? We should be seeing Reagan/Mondale numbers come awards season. (Not that Mike Green cares for awards. He is not programmed with humon emotion.)
In terms of everything he brings to a team, and the fact that he’s.. my god, he’s only 23 … he might be the best all-around defenseman in the NHL today.
You can’t name a better one, anyway. And if you come in here with that Lidstrom or Chara nonsense, I will see you right back out again.
Atlanta 3, Buffalo 2 (OT)
Ah, how I long for last weekend, when Buffalo fans still thought they had a shot to get into the Eastern Conference playoffs. Now they’re dropping points to Johan Hedberg and the lowly Atlanta Thrashers. They’re now five points back of the eighth and final spot in the East. Have a nice summer. I hear Lake Erie’s nice in May.
Toronto 3, Philadelphia 2
Speaking of dropping points, shouldn’t Philly be trying to, y’know, pick some up since the division-leading Devils continue to offer a home ice spot to whichever Atlantic team can dive on this fumble? (Hint: it’s Pittsburgh.) It’s never a good sign when Claude Giroux is by far the best player on the ice for your team. Interesting note: Claude Giroux rhymes with Rod Carew.
Pittsburgh 6, New Jersey 1
Yikes. So this is what a motivated Penguins team can do to a good team like New Jersey, eh? And how ’bout those deadline acquisitions of Chris Kunitz and Billy Guerin, which cost the Pens next to nothing and have now netted a combined 11-15-26 in their 27 total games with Pittsburgh? Kunitz had another goal and an assist, and Guerin had a goal AND FOUGHT DAVID CLARKSON! What is he doing? He’s like 63, and he’s fighting that monster? Lunatic. The Penguins, by the way, have picked up 20 of a possible 24 points since the trade deadline.
Chicago 3, St. Louis 1
Now I see it, Andy Murray. Now I see why you hate David Perron and Patrik Berglund so much. A combined minus-4 on the night. Bums. I would, though, be interested in knowing Murray’s feelings on Roman Polak, who was on the ice for all three Chicago goals. I bet it isn’t good.
Phoenix 3, Colorado 0
Kudos to Al Montoya, just another Rangers castoff that ended up in Phoenix, for getting a 23-save shutout in his first career NHL game. Too bad he played an AHL team.