Going For GreenPosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Last season, Caps defenseman Mike Green was runner-up (by a narrow margin) for the Norris Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s top defenseman. Boston’s Zdeno Chara beat out Green for the Norris, and the Washington blueliner had to settle for a berth on the NHL’s First All-Star Team. Although Green hasn’t scored goals this season at the same rate he did in 2008-09 when he became the first NHL rearguard in a decade and a half to score 30 or more, he still leads all defensemen in the league in goals this season. And in assists. And in points. Green’s plus-35 is third in the league, second among defensemen. He ranks among the top 10 in shots on goal and in shooting pct. among defensemen (including those with 100 or more shots on goal on the season. Green ranks among the top 40 among league defensemen in hits. He ranks ninth in the NHL in ice time per game. Green is second (by five seconds) in average power play ice time per game among defensemen More to the point, he has been a solid defenseman. Which is what the position is all about. Those (please step forward, Mr. Duhatschek) who believe Chicago’s Duncan Keith has been better in his own end haven’t been hipped to the numbers that the good folks at Japers Rink unearthed recently:
As JP pointed out last week, Duncan Keith (whose name is frequently thrown around as a Norris contender this year) has been on the ice for 11% fewer goals FOR at 5-on-5 (90 to 80) than Green. He's also been on the ice for 46% more goals AGAINST (50 to 73) than Green. All while Green sees 21% less ice time 5-on-5.Caps coach Bruce Boudreau was asked about Green’s candidacy before tonight’s game with Atlanta. Here’s what he had to say: “Because he has had the best year as a defenseman in the NHL, overall. Defensively. Offensively. He plays on the team that is No. 1 and he is the No. 1 catalyst from the defense that we have. We’ve got the No. 1 power play in the league and he’s on it all the time. That’s why, I think.” Sure, Bruce is biased. But he makes a strong case. So does The Checking Line. So does Green himself. Hopefully, he gets the Trophy this time around.
Two hours prior to this afternoon’s Caps-Bruins season finale at Verizon Center, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau held court for the media, as he always does on game days. Asked again about how he would handle his team’s goaltending in the playoffs, Boudreau offered this: “We may play even players