Green: We haven't proven we're a great team

Green: We haven't proven we're a great team
September 16, 2013, 9:00 am
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For the past four years, Mike Green has arrived at Capitals training camp proclaiming he’s feeling great and healthier than ever, when in reality ...

“You always tell yourself that, but I really feel it this time,” Green said. “I think the hardest part about playing in this league is staying healthy.”

Green should know. Over the past three seasons he’s missed 96 of the Caps’ 212 games, which means over that time he’s played in just 55 percent of the team’s games.

More than half of those nights spent in the press box were due to groin-related injuries or surgeries, forcing Green to know more about the working parts of adductors and hip flexors than most med students.

This summer Green says he’s been able to train harder than in any of the previous three offseasons and he’s seeing the results he’s been wanting to see for years.

“I was able to actually build up some muscle again and get strong,” he said, “which I haven’t been able to do in a few years.”

Brace yourself for this next sentence: Green will turn 28 next month and is about to begin his ninth season in the NHL.

Even Green finds that hard to fathom, telling friends all summer he was beginning his seventh season in the league. Maybe that’s because he’s sat out nearly two seasons with injuries during his first eight years with the Caps.

“I’m obviously proud to be able to play in this league for that long and hopefully I’ll have 10 more years.”

With two years and $12.25 million remaining on his current contract, Green is planning to build off last season, when he led all NHL defensemen with 12 goals in 35 games. That’s a 28-goal pace, Green’s highest since setting a career high with 31 goals in 2008-09. And he thinks he can be even better this season.

“I’ll push past that, for sure,” Green said.

Since his first full season in the NHL in 2006-07 Green and the Caps have been to the playoffs six straight seasons [2008-13] and have yet to get past the second round.

“We’ve been there every year,” he said. “We’ve been a team that competes. Making it to the playoffs is hard. It’s not easy to do in this league.

“We’ve proven ourselves in that aspect, that we’re a good team. But we haven’t proven that we’re a great team and the only way to do that is by winning the Stanley Cup.”

MORE ROSTER CUTS

The Caps released 16 more players from their training camp roster over the weekend, trimming their number to 49 – 29 forwards, 16 defensemen and four goalies.

Among those released were goalies Brandon Anderson and Louis-Philip Guindon, forwards Boston Leier, Jamie Johnson, T.J. Syner, Derek Whitmore, Chance Braid, Domenic Monardo and defensemen Madison Bowey, Tyler Lewington, Jaynen Rissling, Julien Brouillette, Brett Flemming and Patrick Wellar.

The Hershey Bears open their training camp Sept. 23.

The Caps return to action tonight in Philadelphia against the Flyers. CSN will begin its preseason game coverage Tuesday night when the Bruins face off against the Caps at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore.