When Mike Green returns to the lineup, the Caps defenseman said he doesn’t anticipate being more tentative because of the three-game suspension he finished serving Tuesday.
He did, however, acknowledge that he’ll likely use a little more discretion when delivering hits. Green was banned last week for his hit to the head of Tampa Bay’s Brett Connolly.
“It was an accident,” Green reiterated after an informal skate Wednesday with teammates Jeff Halpern, John Erskine, Tomas Vokoun and Nicklas Backstrom. “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.”
The suspension comes amid a difficult season for Green, who played in only 10 games before undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia in January. In fact, the 26-year-old said he felt like he had started to hit his stride physically — and get comfortable playing in Coach Dale Hunter's system — in recent days.
Then Brendan Shanahan hit him with the second suspension of his career for an illegal hit.
“I’m just excited to get back,” Green said. “I’m fortunate that it was three games in four nights, so Friday will come quick and I’ll be ready.”
In the 10 games Green has played under Hunter, he has yet to record a point. But the former high-scoring blueliner said there’s a reason for that: He’s being asked to play a different style of game.
“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.”
Green, a native of Calgary, also said he’s looking forward to making his debut in Winnipeg on Friday. He was injured for the Caps’ first two trips there.
“I thought about it last night – finally,” Green said. “Before the season started, I wanted to play there. Obviously, I didn’t get a chance. I looked at the schedule about three weeks and saw we had a game there. I’m excited and fortunate I didn’t get a four-game suspension so I can make the trip.”
More on the Capitals:
— Mike Green discusses his suspension (March 10)
— Nicklas Backstrom skates, reports feeling ‘good’
— Can Caps expect Nicklas Backstrom to return to form?
— Video: Matt Hendricks seals the win vs. Islanders
— Capitals’ leaders send message, spark rally