-- Bruce Boudreau
continues to defend star defenseman Mike Green
, who has come under some criticism for shaky play in this series.
"He's leading the League in defensemen scoring," Boudreau said of Green, who was tied for first with nine points until Nicklas Lidstrom
took the lead with an assist Sunday night. "We can complain about him all we want and expect more out of him, but he's trying his rear-end off. He's not looking as pretty as he did in the regular season, but he has nine points in 12 games. Our expectations for him must be so high that it's unreachable."
Green, who is goalless while being plagued by turnovers against the Penguins, was critical of himself Monday morning.
"I've almost changed my game a bit in the playoffs and I'm not as aggressive offensively," said Green, who scored 31 goals during the regular season and has just one in 12 playoff games. "I don't think I should play like that. I think I should be more involved and get up the ice. I found when I was doing that I had more confidence and good things happened."
Green, though, released a bit of news Monday that may be telling of his struggles. He wracked up 73 points during the regular season while using an Easton Stealth as his stick. They were soft and ultra light, but Green said Easton discontinued the model "a while ago" and he broke the last of the 15 he had left early in Game 1 of this series.
"It's a crappy time for that to happen," Green said with a smile when talking about Easton discontinuing the model. He has since changed to Easton's S17 model, which is a thicker and heavier stick, and Green admitted he has had trouble getting used to it. His stickhandling, which has been a cause for concern in this series, has been affected by the change in equipment.
"I felt like I was stickhandling for the first time again," Green said. "It's not the same feel at all. Now I feel good with it."
Ironically, there is still one of his Green's Stealths lying around. It's the one he used to set the NHL record for consecutive games with a goal by a defensemen this season, but the stick is supposed to be on its way to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Should there be a Game 7 Wednesday night, a Caps PR person said they could get it back to Green, whose eyes lit up when he heard that. The Hall wouldn't be thrilled, but Green would be reunited with an old friend, perhaps just in time, too.
Contact Dan Rosen at email@example.com