Caps' Mike Green Emerging as Top Defenseman

When Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green steps onto the ice at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers Wednesday night, he'll be carrying a six-game goal scoring streak, the longest the league has seen by a defenseman since Ray Bourque in March 1984. If he scores again against the Rangers, he'll tie the NHL record for that mark for a defenseman that was set by Mike O'Connell in January 1984. ↵

↵Did I forget to mention that despite missing 13 games this season, Green still leads the league in goals (19) and points (47) for all defensemen? Not bad for a player who couldn't wangle an invitation to the NHL All-Star Game, eh? ↵

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↵Not that Green or his teammates are thinking all that much about what's looking more and more like an inexcusable snub on the part of the league. All they really know or care about is the fact that the 23-year-old averages more ice time than any of his teammates -- including all-world winger Alex Ovechkin -- while constituting the most dangerous offensive threat from the right point in all of hockey. ↵

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↵Japers' Rink recently chronicled the amazing numbers from Green's recent surge: ↵

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↵⇥Green's recent run which, in addition to his six consecutive games with a goal, has seen him register ten points (five goals) in his last four games, nineteen points (nine goals) in his last twelve games, and twenty-six points (eleven goals) since Christmas Day, has solidified his place among the NHL's elite blueliners ↵
↵As impressive as those numbers may be, you really need to watch Green to understand just how exciting a player he is as you wonder just how much better he can be. If you're a goalie, consider this nightmare scenario: ↵

↵Say you're hugging you're right wing post with Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom curling around the back of the net. As you slide across the crease to hug the opposite post, you have to consider all of Backstrom's options. More than likely, you think, he'll simply pass the puck off of his forehand and onto the waiting stick of Ovechkin lurking somewhere in the left wing faceoff circle. That means sliding across the crease quickly enough to stop what's sure to be a howitzer-like slapper. ↵

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↵But as you turn to face Ovechkin, in the back of your mind remains the distinct possibility that Green will be darting toward the net from the right point, waiting to tap a pass from Ovechkin into an open net. You can't win for losing. ↵

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↵Here's something else to think about: when the Caps made the playoffs last season, there was carping in some quarters that they fattened up points they earned playing opponents in the ridiculously weak Southeast Division. This year, however, though the team is firmly in control of second place in the Eastern Conference, only nine of their 54 games thus far have been played against their own division. ↵

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↵With 15 of their last 28 games against the weak sisters of the Southeast, one wonders just how many more points Green will be able to pile up before the end of the season and the start of the voting for the Norris Trophy. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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