Capitals' Mike Green misses the cut for Team Canada

By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 31, 2009

SAN JOSE -- In the home dressing room at HP Pavilion, there was a mixture of joy and relief for one San Jose Sharks defenseman. On the other side of the arena, however, there was disappointment and frustration for a Washington Capitals blue-liner.

After months of trying to impress Hockey Canada officials, Mike Green found out he hadn't done enough to make the roster for a Canadian Olympic team that will attempt to win the gold medal on home ice in February. Meanwhile, Sharks veteran Dan Boyle, another offensive-minded defenseman, did make the cut when the 23-man roster was announced Wednesday.

"Obviously, [I'm] very disappointed," said Green, who was leading all defensemen with 38 points in 38 games entering Wednesday night. "I really wanted to be a part of that team and felt like I did everything I could. I don't have any regrets. They obviously had something different in mind."

News of Hockey Canada's omission overshadowed the fact that one of Green's teammates got some good news: Winger Tomas Fleischmann learned by checking the Internet on Wednesday morning that he had made the Czech Republic's squad. He is the fifth-leading scorer among his countrymen (14 goals, 10 assists) despite missing 11 games with a blood clot in his leg.

"It's a great opportunity to play for my country, a great feeling," Fleischmann said. "I can't wait until it starts."

Fleischmann will join four of his Capitals teammates in Vancouver: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Semyon Varlamov made Russia's team, and Nicklas Backstrom will represent Sweden.

But the prospect of having a sixth Washington player in the Olympics didn't pan out when Team Canada officials unveiled the roster on live television. Green said he found out from his parents, who called from Calgary to break the bad news to him.

The 24-year-old said he wouldn't allow the disappointment to derail him.

"I always feel like when things don't go well, or people have their own opinions of you, you strive to prove them wrong," Green said. "I'll probably be that much better in the second half."

While he's not holding out hope, Green also said he would welcome the opportunity to be an injury replacement if someone were to get hurt.

"Hopefully if something like that happens, I'll be in their thoughts," he said. "I'll continue to perform, so if something does happen, I'm ready to play."

Coach Bruce Boudreau, who had voiced his support for Green's inclusion in recent weeks, said he commiserated with his defenseman before the morning skate.

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