Green not worried about hits to head

Green not worried about hits to head
April 19, 2011, 5:49 pm
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 1:51 p.m.
By Mark ZuckermanStaff Writer

If Mike Green thinks Marc Staal intentionally tried to deliver a blow to his head Sunday at Madison Square Garden, he isn't about to say anything that might incite a war of words between the Capitals and Rangers.

"I mean, I'm used to it and I'm ready for it," Green said Tuesday following practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "I did feel a blow to my head for whatever reason. Whether it was or was not intentional, it's over with."

That was a much more civil tone than Caps coach Bruce Boudreau used Monday when referring to the hit by Staal as a "dirty shot." Boudreau said he hoped the NHL would review the play, though league officials ultimately decided not to issue any punishment to Staal.

Whether the Staal hit was dirty or not, it's no secret Green missed the final 20 games of the regular season after suffering a concussion. Opponents are likely to be targeting the All-Star throughout the playoffs, and Green knows that.

"They're coming hard," he said. "Whether it's high or just finishing their checks is irrelevant. They're coming so hard that, you know, it's hard to get out of the way. It is what it is. It's part of the game. I'm not complaining."

Tell that to Rangers coach John Tortorella, who on Tuesday took his own verbal shot at Boudreau and the Capitals when asked about the reaction to the StaalGreen play.

"We have confidence officials won't be influenced by all the whining going on," Tortorella told reporters in New York.

Bull's eye on his helmet or not, Green has been among the most active Caps players during this series. He has averaged nearly 22 minutes of ice time through the first three games, and he was bumped up a line (paired with Jeff Schultz) at one point during Game 3.

Green feels like he's put the injury behind him and is somewhat surprised at his ability to get back in the flow of things so quickly after the extended layoff.

"I feel great," he said. "I've said this from the time I stepped back on the ice: I didn't know how I was going to feel, and I feel just like I have all season. I'm ready for whatever they want to throw at me. We'll see tomorrow."