suffered an injury last month, and the Kings missed him.
They missed his ability to deliver hits. They missed his big-bodied play along the boards. They missed his willingness to stand up for teammates whenever play gets chippy.
Perhaps more than anything, though, they missed his mouth.
"The room just wasn't the same without Greener," Kings coach Terry Murray said recently, shaking his head slightly.
They often talk, in sports, about the silent leaders, the lead-by-example guys. Then there's Greene, the guy whose voice often proceeds him into a room by a few seconds.
Greene is one of the Kings' two alternate captains, but in many ways he's their voice and their heart. Greene keeps things light-hearted at the rink, with his humor and wit, but also has an innate sense of the moment and knows when to get serious.
It's that combination of communication and grit that has made Greene invaluable to the Kings this season. Captain Dustin Brown
is a lead-by-example type, and alternate Anze Kopitar
isn't a total extrovert, so Greene's skills have a place in the Kings' leadership.
"I don't think either one of those guys are overly talkative," Greene said, "so just in terms of other aspects, communication-wise and maybe getting some points across that we need to get across in meetings, maybe that's where I can help out a little more.
"We have a good mix and we're able to read off each other too. We have a good relationship, so it's really easy to go about our business together. I think all of us have a good understanding of what we bring to the table."
Brought over from the Edmonton Oilers -- along with Jarret Stoll
-- in the summer 2008 trade that sent Lubomir Visnovsky to Edmonton, Greene wasn't well known in L.A.
Greene had spent parts of three seasons with the Oilers and had built a reputation as a tough, low-scoring, physical stay-at-home defenseman. That filled a need for the Kings, but Greene's skills away from the ice would prove just as valuable.
Last season, Drew Doughty
, then an 18-year-old rookie defenseman, needed a place to stay. Greene opened his home and took in Doughty as a roommate.
Last summer, Greene -- along with Brown -- was credited for an offseason bonding/conditioning period, in which approximately half of the Kings' roster convened in Los Angeles to work out and start to feel like a team, not just a collection of players.
Continue to Part II.