Mike Green explains his Vespa use


“Yeah, I took a lot of heat over that,” Green told Calgary’s Fan 960. “They made it seem like it was badass, but I betcha there’s other guys out there that ride scooters, too. I’m not the only one. They caught me on the right day; I was donating that one to a charity event that I was throwing out in D.C. and I had to drive it there, I had no other way to get it there. And it was a little chilly out that day. It was cold; my fingers were frozen to those handlebars, but I made it there.”

So on the one hand, he wasn’t commuting so much as doing good deeds. On the other hand, he had at least two scooters.

Elsewhere in the interview, which was to promote his charity golf tournament, Green suggested that the HBO series was more about drama than accuracy.

“No, not really,” he said, when asked if the series gave viewers an accurate look at a hockey season. “It’s not like that the whole year. We were going through a tough time, of course. It wasn’t as tough as it seemed, but that’s the game, and it was accurate in the sense of what goes on in the dressing room and the injuries and what guys play through. But other than that, it’s not that depressing.”

There was also tons of hockey talk, and while little of it was exactly news, Green sounded far more relaxed and candid than he often is around the D.C. media. It’s worth a listen, if you’re stuck in the office on the day before a three-day weekend.

For example, the hosts attempted, repeatedly, to get Green to agree that the Caps are better off playing run-and-gun, and he sort of went there after one of the interviewers said “Let ‘em play!”

“I agree,” Green said. “I think it’s about finding that balance now, of being able to keep that offensive force but really tuning to our defensive game when we don’t have the puck, and that’s been our biggest struggle lately is finding that balance. But I think this year was a good learning experience for us. For once in the last four years, we really focused on finding that balance. And it’s not gonna happen overnight, it’s gonna take some time. So here we are...

“That goes back to the pressures we talked about. We felt like we needed to change, and we still ended up winning our division and on top with changing our game, but it’s about the playoffs. I mean, the regular season doesn’t really matter any more, and we need to prepare ourselves to play in the playoffs, whether it’s as a high offensive scoring team, be the best we can be at that, or find that balance, or we play strictly defense. I mean, whatever we decide to do, we need to be full throttle and go with it. We can’t have any indecisions about it.”

There were a couple of funny lines, like when Green was asked what sort of incredible tricks Alex Ovechkin pulls off in practice.

“I’ll call him out on this one, that’s when he does practice, if he feels like it,” Green joked, before and after praising the team’s captain. And he was also asked about convincing Nicklas Backstrom to fly from Sweden to Calgary for a golf tournament around Stampede time.

“He’s not much of a fan of country music, but he’s got that long blond hair, so I figure he’d look good in a cowboy hat,” Green said.

But mostly, they talked about the pressures of being on a supremely talented team that has now repeatedly come up short in the spring.

“We always do well during the regular season and come out on top, but that playoffs comes around and you have that extra pressure on you, not only as a player but as a team,” Green said. “And that definitely weighs on your mind, but we’ve got to mature here, we’ve got to put that behind us and succeed. You know, it’s coming. We’re a young team and we’re developing and we’re at that point now where we’ve got a good core group of guys that need to step up and do it for us....

“We’re an excited group there. We know that we have a great team and a great organization that’s pushing in the right direction. I think what happened is we became good really quick, and then the expectations came, and we had a young team. And we still are young. Now, we’re starting to get what it takes to win, and it’s a process. It takes time. And that’s where we’re at.”

(Via Japers, which has an extensive discussion of this interview in the comments.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.

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