Through 14 games, Mike Green is having a tough time balancing patience and frustration.
Having led all NHL defenseman in goals in three of the past five years, Green has never gone this long without a goal to start a season.
Is he frustrated? Yes. Patient? He’s trying.
“What are we, 14 games in?” Green asked. “I’ve still got lots of time.
“Sometimes you start out slow and you end up in good shape. Sometimes you start out quick and end up with not as many as you wanted. It’s a matter of pucks finding their way through.”
Take last season, for instance. Green had two goals on 33 shots in his first 14 games and ended up leading all defensemen with 12. This season, he has no goals on 35 shots through 14 games, but has nine assists.
“I wish the pucks were going in the net, but I don’t think a defenseman scoring goals is a reflection of his play,” Green said. “Maybe for myself it is. People expect me to score goals every game. But that’s not the case, that doesn’t happen, and I’ve accepted that.”
Green’s goal-less streak would not be as noticeable if some of the other Caps’ defensemen were finding the back of the net. When John Carlson scored off a pass from Michael Latta Saturday night against the Florida Panthers it marked just the second time this season a Caps blue liner scored a goal. [Rookie Connor Carrick was the other in Game 2].
“I know it’s important for guys to get their goals,” said Caps coach Adam Oates. “I’m sure it’s a huge relief for Carly and Greenie needs to get one to just to relax, but other than that he’s getting plenty of chances.”
In the shootout win over Panthers, Green rang a point shot off the left post. In the season opener in Chicago, he rocketed two shots that were deflected by Mikhail Grabovski for goals.
Green has also been given the responsibility of breaking in rookie defenseman Nate Schmidt, who is making the jump from the University of Minnesota to the NHL.
Green said he knows the goals will come; he’d just like them to come a little sooner.
“It’s about playing solid and playing the system Adam has in place,” Green said. “They’ll come.”