-- After seeing the hit, Washington Capitals
defenseman Mike Green
gained a better understanding of why the NHL saw fit to suspend him without pay for three games.
"I have seen it and it did look like I had my arms extended," Green told NHL.com after Thursday's morning skate at Madison Square Garden.
Green was suspended by the League for the elbow he delivered to the head of Florida forward Michael Frolik
4:24 into last Friday's game in Washington. The on-ice officials gave him a minor for elbowing before the League stepped in and took further action.
He's already missed Washington's games against Tampa Bay and Boston, and will miss Thursday night's game against the Rangers as well. He is eligible to return Friday when the Capitals host Atlanta, and he emphatically says he will be in the lineup.
"I could see why they (the NHL) were concerned, but I know when I hit him his head had hit my shoulder," said Green, who leads all NHL defenseman with 40 assists and 52 points. "Whether or not it looked like I elbowed him, I know for sure I made no contact with my elbows."
Green, though, says the punishment will force him to think about where he puts his arms when he's going to deliver a hit.
"I mean, I'm still going to do the same thing because in my mind I really didn't feel like I elbowed him," he said. "Maybe it was a little aggressive to come across the middle, but I have done that in the past and never had any problems. So, I just have to make sure that I'm more aware that when I come I don't extend my arms out, that I keep my arms down."
Ironically, Green also tweaked his knee during the game against the Panthers when Dmitry Kulikov
hit him during the second period. So, he might have had to miss the Caps' next three games anyway, but the NHL took the decision out of his hands.
"Yeah, it kind of feels like when you're young and you get a timeout and you have to go in the corner," Green joked. "Nobody likes that."
He has at least tried to make the most of his mini-break. After his teammates were finished with the morning skate Thursday, Green and healthy scratches Karl Alzner
and Quintin Laing
spent an extra hour on the ice to get in a good workout.
Green has also found himself watching the Capitals with an analytical eye.
"I could see why they (the NHL) were concerned, but I know when I hit him his head had hit my shoulder. Whether or not it looked like I elbowed him, I know for sure I made no contact with my elbows." -- Mike Green
"I watch on the power play and what seems to be open," Green said. "Coming up the ice, I watch what spots are open. When I think there might not be a pass, you can see there is more time than you think."
Mostly, though, Green is bored. He hates sitting out, and with the way the Capitals are playing lately, the urge to play is even bigger.
Friday night's game against Atlanta can't come soon enough.
"We miss him, especially on the power play," Alex Ovechkin
said. "We have our system on the power play and he has a perfect shot and he's the kind of D that can create some moments for us. I think everybody misses their best players."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org