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Green's first All-Star trip could involve facing Ovi

by Adam Kimelman /
Mike Green has a bit of a conundrum on his hands heading into All-Star Weekend.

Alex Ovechkin is a friend and teammate, as well as a scary-good offensive performer. Green knows that well, having seen it first-hand in practice and games for the last six seasons.

He's seen defensemen around the League struggle with keeping the Great 8 off the score sheet. Just once, however, would he like to have a shot at trying to slow Ovechkin in a game?

He could get his chance at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover. Green, an alternate captain for Team Staal, has the unique chance to make that wish come true. All he has to do is convince team captain Eric Staal to ignore Ovechkin at Friday's NHL All-Star Fantasy Draft.

"We'll have to talk about it," Green said. "Eric (Staal) gets to play against him all the time and knows what he's about, so hopefully he goes with him again. It would be nice to have teammates on each other's team (but) always having him on the team, it would be nice to have him come down 1-on-1 with you."

To be with or against Ovechkin is only one of the fun things Green will have to concern himself with during All-Star Weekend. While he's looking forward to getting to play with and against the best players in the game, he's especially happy with where his seat for All-Star Fantasy Draft will be located -- alongside Staal and fellow alternate captain Ryan Kesler as they choose sides for Sunday's All-Star Game.

"That was my worst fear, being picked last, so now I don't have to worry about that," said Green.

Answering questions about why he's never been an All-Star is something else he no longer has to worry about. Green has led all defensemen in goals for three straight seasons and points in two straight. His 31 goals in 2008-09 were the most by an NHL defenseman since Kevin Hatcher had 34 in 1992-93, and he followed that with a career-best 76 points last season.

Despite that success, he was not picked for the 2008 All-Star Game in Atlanta or the 2009 game in Montreal (there was no game in 2010 due to the Olympics).

Green, however, doesn't spend a moment dwelling on the past.

"I think it goes with how you play and your status in the game, and I was younger (then) and didn't really feel like I deserved to be there or should have been there or shouldn't have been there," said Green. "It is what it is. I'm worried about now and this is my opportunity.

"It's an honor to be involved and in the same category as the rest of the guys in the League and it's my first time and I'm very humbled to be there."

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