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The Official Site of the Washington Capitals

12-28-09 Behind the Bench

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
The Winter Olympics are one of my favorite events and the hockey that is going to be played in Vancouver will be tremendous. The best players in the world are going to be in the same spot, playing for their countries in an opportunity that only happens once every four years. Right now, the Caps are well represented on Team Russia with Alex, Alexander and Semyon and on Team Sweden with Nick. I was really happy to see Sergei Fedorov and Viktor Kozlov named to the Russian team as well.

            Sometimes when you are a coach and you have the same players for a while, you take on the role of a parent and live vicariously through them. I am so proud of all of our guys that will be playing. I can see their excitement building and I hope they can keep it on hold until February.
            Hopefully, we will have a couple more players named to their respective teams in the next few days.
            I don’t know who is in goal for the Czech Republic, but Michal Neuvirth – a lot like Varlamov – could be a good third guy for them. The way he has played here has proved that he can play in big situations. I would venture to guess that Tomas Fleischmann would make the Czech team as well.
            Canada has not named their team yet either, but Mike Green should make that team because he is the best defenseman in the league. If people are going to look at numbers, then tell me where his deficiency is. He is one of the top players in the league in plus-minus, he is one of the top point-producing defensemen in the league and is by far the top point-producing Canadian defenseman. He plays almost the most minutes every game and if you look at the last time he played in an event like this, it was the World Championship two years ago where he was named to the All-Tournament Team and led defensemen in scoring.
            There are people out there who watch Mike play three times a year and see one mistake he made and are saying he should not make the team. Those people do not see the true Mike Green. If they knew the true Mike Green, those people would not hesitate to put him on the team and they would put him on with an exclamation point.
            We have been fortunate to be where we are in the standings, but it is not all Alex, Alexander and Nick. We do not get a lot of goals from our defensemen, but we use only one defenseman on the power play and it is Mike. He is a big reason why our power play has been in the top five in the league the last two years.
            I respect the people picking the Canadian team and don’t envy them, but to me, Mike is a no-brainer to make that team. I hope they see how good he is. 
            I am obviously Canadian, but I am rooting for all of my guys to do well. If Russia wins, then there are three guys that I would be really happy for – but disappointed that they beat the Canadians on Canadian soil. If the Americans won, then I would be happy for the growth of hockey in this country. The last Olympic champion was Sweden and I could see Nick being their No. 1 player and they are certainly nothing to sneeze at.
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