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Principe's Blog: Green-er Pastures (or Green Friendly)

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
Josh Green (photo by Getty Images).

Josh Green's wife was there, so was his brother and his wife. Green's parents weren't at Rexall Place on Sunday night for the game against LA. They decided with the cold and snow they wouldn't chance the drive in from Camrose. Instead, they decided to watch the game on Sportsnet.

Whether it was his family who were there in person or viewed it on TV, they saw something that had not happened in half a decade -- well, minus one day. It was that long ago that Green scored an NHL goal. It was January 16, 2007 that Josh scored against Montreal. Today would have been the 5-year anniversary of his most recent NHL goal. That is, until the 11:21 mark of the first period of Edmonton's 44th game of the year on Sunday night. Jeff Petry shoots and Josh Green scores. His first of the year and first in five years.

It may have only been 33 games between NHL goals but it's been about that many teams for Green. He was originally drafted 30th overall when that meant you were a second round pick and not the last selection of round one. Ironically chosen by the team he scored against. Selected by L.A. after a productive junior career with Medicine Hat, Swift Current and Portland. Maybe that was a sign of things to come for the Camrose kid when it came to hockey and moving. In order, starting with his pro career in 1996, Green has played for:

Fredericton (AHL)
LA Kings
Springfield Falcons (AHL)
NY Islanders
Lowell (AHL)
Hamilton (AHL)
NY Rangers
Lowell (AHL)
NY Rangers (Second time)
Maintoba (AHL)
Salzburg EC (Austria)
Iowa (AHL)
Modo (Sweden)
Syracuse (AHL)
Oklahoma City (AHL)
Edmonton (second time)

That's 18 different teams and a total of 21 clubs if you include double stints with Edmonton, the NY Rangers and Lowell of the AHL. He puts the 'journey' in journeyman.

I write this not to embarrass Green but instead to promote his belief in the song written by the Eagles and the lyrics 'The dream never dies just the dreamer'. The dream never did die for Josh Green. It could have and I'm sure there are people along the way who said 'let it go'. He could have with a clear conscience. Having played 334 games before he was recalled by Edmonton on two occasions. The first time he played in three games. Against Dallas he was on the ice 12:14 and spent another 5 minutes in the penalty box after a head shot by Steve Ott on Anton Lander. Green came to his teamates aid and fought Dallas' top antagonist. Lander a near stranger to Green but it didn't stop him from stepping up.

You see players like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who make the direct jump from junior to successful NHL'ers and you can't help but appreciate the 34-year-old forward's long and winding road through different leagues and countries. It has brought him back home to an area that is certainly Green friendly.


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