"Things are rolling lately and it feels special. I tried not to think about it before the game, but I'm happy right now. If you don't shoot you're not going to score and if it's on my stick, I'm going to shoot. I feel good and I'm going to take that shot if I'm in the slot. The only other time I really felt like this was my first year in Hershey (in 2005-06). But this is different because I'm playing with guys who can really pass the puck."
-- Mike Green
After becoming only the second defenseman in NHL history to score a goal in seven-straight games Wednesday night, Mike Green
can now set his sights on rewriting the record book Saturday against Tampa Bay.
Green actually scored two second-period goals Wednesday against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden to equal a quarter-century old mark set by Boston's Mike O'Connell during the 1983-84 season.
"It was pretty exciting when I got that first one, as you saw by my reaction," Green told reporters following his team's 5-4 shootout loss to the Blueshirts. "I had some chances there in the first period and when I finally got one by him, I was pretty jacked."
O'Connell, who is currently working as the Director of Pro Player Development and Special Assignments for the Los Angeles Kings
, never realized until this week that his goal-scoring streak was even an NHL record.
Much like the offensively gifted Green, O'Connell was an excellent skater, a key cog on the power play and worked the transition to perfection. He recorded three 50-plus point seasons from 1982-85 when he played for the Bruins and was an NHL All-Star in 1984.
"I didn't even know I had the NHL mark, to be honest; I just thought it was a Boston record," O'Connell told NHL.com. "I do remember scoring against Quebec, I believe, in the seventh game that season, but it was just something you don't really think about. Stats weren't really a big deal back then, so I really had no concerns."
O'Connell, who partnered with Mike Milbury
in Boston, does remember the stick he used.
"I used a big old piece of oak," O'Connell, 53, said. "That thing would last forever and I used the same stick in all seven games. After the seventh game, I gave it away and that was it."
The 23-year-old Green, who has posted 9 goals and 16 points during the past seven games, leads all defenders in the League in goals (21), power-play goals (14) and points (49) through 42 games. While Green hasn't used the same stick throughout his streak, he does use the same model -- an Easton Stealth.
"Things are rolling lately and it feels special," said Green, who took four shots against the Rangers. "I tried not to think about (tying the record) before the game, but I'm happy right now. If you don't shoot you're not going to score and if it's on my stick, I'm going to shoot. I feel good and I'm going to take that shot if I'm in the slot. The only other time I really felt like this was my first year in Hershey (in 2005-06). But this is different because I'm playing with guys who can really pass the puck."
Would O'Connell like to see his record broken?
"Of course not," he said. "I don't want him to break the record because my only tie to the NHL is that record. I guess it would be nice if I still had a little piece of it somehow. Hey, maybe if Mike's streak ended at seven games -- that would be perfect since we'd share it."
O'Connell was being facetious, of course. Fact is, he has seen Green on numerous occasions and feels he is one of the League's premier players.
"I think he's a dynamic player and I love watching him," O'Connell said. "He's a great skater and he really has discovered his boundaries on where he can and can't go. He's learned it all so quickly."
In six seasons as general manager of the Bruins from 2000 until 2006, O'Connell won two Northeast Division titles while playing a role in the drafting of players such as P.J. Axelsson
, David Krejci
and Patrice Bergeron
He admits today's defensemen have it a lot tougher than when he worked the blue line in front of goalie Pete Peeters
"I think it's tougher to play defense now because of the rules," O'Connell said. "I mean, back when I played, you could go at a guy that you missed and always hook him off the puck, but you can't get away with that today. On top of that, the goalies are better and, not to take anything away from the defensemen who played back then, but I just think the rules have made it so much more of an offensive game that that forwards have become really difficult to defend. I doubt you'll ever see another defenseman score 40 goals in a season like (Paul) Coffey did (in 1983-84)."
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com.