Caps Fans Celebrate; 'Gang Green' Disbanding?

The Capitals really cleaned up last night in Toronto, eh?

Bruce Boudreau won the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year -- a perfect movie ending, says owner Ted Leonsis -- and, as expected, Alex Ovechkin won both the Lester B. Pearson Award and Hart Trophy as the NHL's MPV (or MVP, same thing).

Post writer Tarik El-Bashir blogged live during the ceremony, and nearly ruined all the fun with this little item:

"Not to be a drag or anything, but I heard from a couple of people that it's looking more and more like restricted free agent Mike Green and his camp are determined to take their negotiations with the Caps to July 1 in the hopes of attracting an offer sheet. Majority owner Ted Leonsis has said over and again that he will match any offer, but it's looking as though things might get complicated. But don't panic yet -- it's only June 12. "

First response:


Wait for it. . . Wait for it. . .

Nope. Not even an iota of hysteria. On the contrary, commenters are oozing apathy.

jmu_capsgirl: I'm probably going to get skewered for this, but I had a feeling this was going to happen with Green. As great as he is on the ice, he's really not my favorite person in the world off it. Having said that, I've never met the kid so I'll give him the benefit of a doubt, but he oozes the kind of cocky you just want to slap. I hope he stays in a Caps sweater, but I won't be investing in a #52.

Danny: Screw Green. We don't need him. We don't need another scorer; we got enough of them. What we need is a solid, real defenseman. I hope we reject Green's insane asking price - whatever it may be.

So right you are, Danny. Who needs goals, anyway? The Caps are so good, they can win without scoring!

old time hockey: Stinks about Green. Green is looking for a "Gang of Green" or "More Green" or "Big Green" ok, I'll stop. He's free to do what he wants, but it strikes me as kind of DB thing to do, especially if GMGM has made a market-level offer. Note to Mike: We like you, but you are not Lidstrom or evne Phanuef...

Jim: Green has terrific offensive talent but I wouldn't go crazy throwing money at the guy. He's a liability in his own end and you CAN win without having flashy offensive defensemen as long as you have guys who can move the puck.

So where are those Gang Green faithful, anyway? Does anyone care? Speak up!

By Lindsay Applebaum |  June 13, 2008; 12:20 PM ET  | Category:  Capitals
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Wow, so you picked out the few comments that were negative about Mike Green.

I think if you look at the posts in Tarik's blog over the past few months, you'll see that most caps fans agree he is a great talent and would certainly be disappointed if he is not resigned.

Have you been hanging out with Mike Wise?

Posted by: Stormblue | June 13, 2008 12:56 PM

Actually, there weren't really any positive comments about Mike Green in Tarik's last post. I just think it's interesting that there isn't much concern, ya know?

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | June 13, 2008 1:01 PM

just listen to the national hockey press talk about Green. they speak highly of him. Reminds them of a young Paul Coffey. bottom line is there is no other Offensive d-man like him in the NHL

Posted by: Paul | June 13, 2008 1:02 PM

There isn't that much concern because even if what Tarik says is true, the Caps still can match any offer sheet he signs. All this means is that he (potentially) is trying to maximize his earnings.

Green and his agent are likely aware of Ted claiming the Caps intend to match any offer, so why wouldn't they try to get 5 or 6 mil from someone else (which the Caps would then apparently match anyhow) instead of signing a smaller contract before July 1st?

While we all hope this gets resolved before July 1st I think most people realize Tarik's news isn't really that surprising.

Posted by: Jeff | June 13, 2008 1:06 PM


Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 1:19 PM

@Lindsay -

I wouldn't interpert the reactions as apathy. We all want Green to be back and believe he could be a vital part of this team, but only if it makes financial sense. We don't want the team to be in a position that the Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves in this past season. 3 players earning a disproportionate amount of the overall team salary...and in last place in the divison.

If some GM offers Mike Green, a talented young player who has tremendous upside (but has only produced for two thirds of an NHL season) a contract with "goofy" money, then the Caps let him walk and take the draft picks in compensation. Such is life in a Salary Cap world.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | June 13, 2008 1:26 PM

I could understand St. Louis throwing an outrageous offer sheet at Scott Stevens in 1990 because he had proven himself (offensively and defensively) for 8 seasons. I'm fond of Green, but he's had exactly one good NHL year, and it just seems a little strange for him to expect a crazy offer sheet (most NHL teams seem starved for "clear the slot" defensemen, not Paul Coffey wannabes) based on that.

Still, anyone who thinks scoring-defenesmen are a dime-a-dozen probably missed the replay of the Caps-Flyers playoff game #1 (and Green's two goals that got the Caps back in it) or missed how constantly the Flyers harassed Green all series because (presumably) they recognized him as the only serious scoring threat among the Caps blue line corps.

Posted by: Geo | June 13, 2008 1:28 PM

I also am choosing not to freak out because I expect to see things working out in the end.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | June 13, 2008 1:28 PM

We love Green.

Comments were made that everyone has a right to make money. By waiting for an offer he can up his pay value.

It could also come back to bite him, if no one makes an offer, then the Caps can possibly come down from what they are offering now.

IT IS NO BIG DEAL.....Look at what those baseball players make...good lord,

Posted by: SA_Town | June 13, 2008 1:41 PM

Everyone calm down.

Mike Green is going for more money only because he plans to buy all of section 212 for the season. He is going to call the section "Gang Green," and give the tickets away to the D.C Homeless.

Posted by: Hobo joe | June 13, 2008 1:45 PM

I don't understand the venom directed at Green for legitimately pursuing the chance to make more money. This is part of the CBA the players and the owners signed.

Why should he be obligated to sign a contract that would allow Washington to save money on his services? He's a professional, one that happens to be in high demand early in his career. He played his way into this position with an outstanding season. Good for him.

Posted by: John in Mpls | June 13, 2008 2:11 PM

@ Hobo joe: Love it!

Posted by: Lindsay Applebaum | June 13, 2008 2:15 PM

Actually what Mike Green does is somewhat irrelevent. The bigger problem is the tremendous turnover in player personel over the next 2-4 years. As a lot of older lower payed players retire, they are going to be replaced with the new young "STARS" who are going to want "OVIE" type deals. Along with that, the typical NHL GM has as much restraint & common sense as that of a 4 year old. This means that the only way to support all these salary demands is to raise ticket prices. With $4 gas & the cost of everything else going up because of it, I think that attendance will level & then decline sharply. ergo, another full year lockout of more.

Posted by: sidehillman | June 13, 2008 2:37 PM

Sombrero Guy is right -- it's not quite time to freak out. This is a negotiation, and the guy has the right to get as much money as he can. I'd bet he wants to stay here -- there seems to be good chemistry on the team.

Posted by: zelda | June 13, 2008 2:41 PM

I feel like the people telling others to stop "freaking out" actually outnumber the people who are actually freaking out. A couple people commented on their hesitation at throwing a lot of money at him, and provided valid criticism on the way he plays (he DOES score goals, but he can be a defensive liability). Is that freaking out?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 2:50 PM

Look.. I like Greenie and I know BB likes him, too. With that being said, the Caps can't afford to be tying up their $$$ in a handful of players. If there is some GM that is willing to offer the guy WAY over his worth then 'happy trails' #52. It will be a loss not having him on the PP. But, if you can get #91 signed, stick him on the point with the extra man.

Greenie has played very well for all of about 50 games this season. If some GM decides to sign him for like 6 years at an outrageous salary... Well....that's why GM's lose their jobs.

Posted by: DrCapsFan | June 13, 2008 3:24 PM

Mike Green isn't going anywhere. This is a legitimate negotiating ploy to maximize his income. He'll get his money and be a Cap next year.

I disagree with the previous post about tying up funds with a few players. If they have Green, Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom as their nucleus they'll be good for years to come.

Posted by: Croftonpost | June 13, 2008 3:31 PM

Here's what's going to happen.

Green will get a big-ass offer sheet. GMGM will match it. Green will score 20 goals next year en route to a cup.

I agree with sombrero guy. He'll be here next year.

Posted by: MAX OUT | June 13, 2008 3:51 PM

Lets not lose focus here. We all WANT Green back but the Caps MUST have Huet or someone of his caliber in net and that won't be cheap. Take care of your starting goaltender first, deal with Green second.

Posted by: Cougin'it | June 13, 2008 4:12 PM

Great, I'm at the top of the "apathy" list. :/ I have nothing but respect for Green as a hockey player. Whatever shortcomings he has now defensively can be improved over time. If he doesn't return, I'm not going to make a Mike Green voodoo doll or anything. He'll be back and I'll be excited. But with a roster full of great guys, there's no need for Green to be everyone's favorite.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | June 13, 2008 4:23 PM

All these people who think losing Mike Green won't be that bad for the team are living in a dream world. He averages the most ice time of any player on the team. He is a catalyst to the offense that only 1 or 2 other defencemen could replicate. He is the next Brian Leetch or Paul Coffey. And let's not forget the tons of scoring provided by the rest of the blue line...... His goal output pretty much makes up for the fact that Morrison, Erskine, Jurcina, and Shultz can't shoot for s**t. Mike Green is a priority.

Posted by: PBOK1237 | June 13, 2008 4:36 PM

Mike's mistaken himself for an Offensive player instead of the D-man he really is (supposed to be). Honestly, he hasn't been too impressive in his own zone. nice goals, but low assists. His +/- is fair to bad.

Lidstrom had a +40 for the season - better than the ENTIRE D-corps of the Caps combined - and 70 point. Kronwal had a +25 with 35 points. Green had, what, a paltry +6? Granted he had a nice 56 total points, but could he expect to see a $5-7 M? I just don't see him being worth that kind of change. Not on 1 season.

Posted by: Greg S. | June 13, 2008 9:26 PM

Some of you boys get carried away with your stats, but I would suggest that statistics don't always tell the story. There is a human element - do you like playing with these guys? Do you think they're going somewhere?

Lidstrom isn't coming here next season, so focus on what is possible. None of the posters on this blog will be in the negotiations - period. So, talking about the plus/minus comparisons are rather meaningless since we are not part of the negotiations.

My puny input: he's a Gonchar -- and he's better than Gonchar was when he was a Cap. Some of you don't remember that far back, and I do. I'd love to see him return, and I suspect he would like to return, as well. Everyone should calm down.

I suspect Green will try to stay here, but it is a negotiation.

Posted by: zelda | June 13, 2008 11:58 PM


I'm not saying that we'll get, or should go after Lidstrom. But if you're going to pay someone Lidstrom-kind of money, you'd better get his production for it. Green doesn't play defense enough (see the plus differential).

Kronwall had a really good year, too. 35 points which is respectable for a Dman and an impressive +25 for 3.5M a year.

I'm just saying that if he's looking for 5-7M, he's got a ways to go to prove he's worth it. He had one (1) good season. The season before was pretty poor. 12 points, -10. I'd say he's worth all of 3.5 to a top end average of 4.5. Maybe sweeten the deal with a front ended contract - higher paid up front down to 2 or 3 M at the end.

Green had a really good year. If you're going to have one, the year before free agency is when to have it. He still needs to prove he's not a "flash in the pan".

Posted by: Greg S. | June 14, 2008 1:28 AM

I'm a fan of Green, it's always useful to have a scoring Defensman and he is a good young talent. In the end, I think he will stay. I doubt he seriously puts out an offer so outrageous that Leonsis cannot, or should not, sign him. If the amount is too high for the Capitals who else will pay him AND give up the draft picks. He's not that high of a level yet so he will blink before the Caps.

Posted by: mcgratsp | June 14, 2008 1:29 AM

This is just the business side of sports and the Capitals and Green's side are following the proper negotiating protocol. He need's to get every dollar he can while he can - and not in a malicious sense - but just earning potential of any individual in any field. There is a demand for his skills (even if there is some room for improvement in the defensive zone) and if he were to be injured at some point and never had another chance to get paid that would be tragic for his family and himself. If that is wrong you probably need to stop watching professional sports and put your money where your mouth is. Stop buying tickets, merchandise, etc., and these players won't be able to demand the paychecks. I love watching Mike play as a member of the Caps and will continue to pay to see games, buy merchandise, etc...and hope he's wearing red, white and blue for us once the dust has settled on this great opportunity for him that he has worked hard and sacrificed to attain. Go Caps.

Posted by: Ross | June 14, 2008 1:50 AM

One partial season of scoring at a higher rate than you did in junior does not merit a huge contract. Incentives maybe, but it has to be proven last season wasn't a fluke before people compare him to hall of famers. If someone throws 5 million at Green, take the 4 first round picks.

Posted by: caps433 | June 14, 2008 8:43 AM

Mike Green will remain a "Cap" next season for 2 reasons. One, no GM is going to give up their 4 1st round picks. Two, there's still an unwritten code about GM's not signing RFA's.

What about Edm and their offer for Vanek/ Penner? The truth of the matter is that:

A. Edm was extremely pissed that they lost out on the Nylander ruling last summer.

B. In the wake of losing Nylander, Edm's GM was trying to save his job by making a big free agent splash.

However, think again if Green is signing for less than 5 mil. And you can thank (ironically enough) the Oilers and their recent 6 yr/ $24 mil deal to defenseman Tom Gilbert.

Much like Green, Gilbert is a young up and coming offensive d-man who in his 1st NHL season posted career high of 33 points. Yet the Oilers saw fit to sign him to that long term monster contract.

Rest assured that Green's agent is using that contract as measuring stick to how much Green should be paid.

Based on the numbers, I would say that $5 mil is just about right for Green's current market value.

Nice work again GM Kevin Lowe....

BTW.. Paul Coffey scored 89 points in his 2nd season in the NHL and went on to frequently score over 100 points during the next 5 years. I like Green just as much as the next Caps fan and is proud to have him on my fantasy roster, but comparing him to Paul Coffey - no way. At best I would accept that he's Paul Coffeesque.

Posted by: Max | June 15, 2008 12:43 AM

"I just think it's interesting that there isn't much concern, ya know?"

Uggghh... Lindsay, you can't SAY things like that. No one's asking you to be a hockey expert, but come on now -- don't make foolish blanket statements that make no sense.

Just because you cherry pick a couple of comments from folks on the message board ONE DAY doesn't mean that almost no one is concerned about Green's possible departure. I think it's safe to say that 95% of the folks that follow the Caps would be upset if Green left. All you had to do was a watch a game or two last season to know that...

I want to be on your side Lindsay... I want to be on your side... work with me.

Posted by: Cart | June 16, 2008 9:37 AM

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