Michael David Green (born October 12, 1985) is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Washington Capitals of theNational Hockey League (NHL). Best known for his hard slapshot, Green put up big offensive statistics for a defenceman from 2007 to 2010. He was given the nickname Game Over during the 2007–08 season when he displayed a propensity for scoring game winning goals in the last minutes of the third period orovertime.
Green played his minor hockey career with the NASA Hockey Association, in Calgary, Alberta. He played major junior in the Western Hockey League for five full seasons with the Saskatoon Blades. After a 14-goal, 39-point season in 2003–04, he was drafted in the first round, 29th overall, by the Washington Capitals in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. In 2005–06, Green split the season with the Capitals and their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hershey Bears. He scored his first career NHL goal against Ed Belfour of the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 3, 2006, and finished with 3 points in 22 games for the Capitals. The next season, Green was selected to play in the 2007 NHL YoungStars Game for the Eastern Conference where he registered 3 assists despite a bruised foot. Not having played the 25-game minimum to qualify as a rookie the previous season, the 2006–07 season counted as Green’s rookie campaign. He completed his second season with 12 points in 70 games, while still appearing in 12 games in the AHL with the Bears.
In 2007–08 NHL season, Green emerged as an elite offensive NHL defenceman while playing on a young and talented Washington team which included forwards Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Nicklas Bäckström. He earned the nickname “Game Over”, made popular by play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati after Green’s game winning goals in the last minutes of the third period or overtime became a regular occurrence. He finished the season with 4 game winning goals to go with his league-leading 18 goals among defencemen and 56 points. Green did not start his goal-scoring run until after Bruce Boudreau replaced Glen Hanlon as head coach on Thanksgiving Day, 2007. The Capitals made the playoffs for the first time since 2003 that season and in his first career NHL playoff game on April 11, 2008, against the Philadelphia Flyers, Green brought Washington back from a 4–2 deficit with two goals in the third period. The Capitals eventually went on to win the game on an Alexander Ovechkin game winning goal. Known for his very powerful and heavy shot, Green took a slapshot from the blue line that same game that was blocked by Philadelphia’s Patrick Thoresen. The shot broke Thoresen’s protective cup and nearly ruptured a testicle. He had to be taken to a local hospital and missed the next game. After the game, Green called Thoresen to check in on him. In game three, on April 15, Green recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) in a 6–3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The series went the distance, but the Capitals would lose in the seventh game.
During the 2008 playoffs, Green’s signature “faux hawk” hairstyle received increased publicity as his profile in the NHL was raised. An Elliot in the Morningpromotion, “Rawk the Hawk,” had Green into the studio for the haircut, which willing fans could also have done for playoff tickets. The D.C. morning talk radio show brought this promotion back for the 2009 season, offering tickets for the first game of each new series. Additionally, during the season, an unofficial Green fan club, dubbed the “Gang Green” began showing up to home games wearing dark green t-shirts with “Gang Green” written on the front and Green’s nickname, “GAME OVER”, as the name plate on the back above the number 52.
At the end of the season, on May 21, 2008, Green was named to the Sporting News‘ NHL All-Star team along with teammate Alexander Ovechkin. Later in the summer, Green signed a four-year contract extension with the Capitals, on July 1, averaging to $5.25 million a year.
Green picked up where he left off in 2008–09, but was plagued by injuries early in the season. Returning from the sidelines, Green captured back-to-back NHL Third Stars of the Week for the weeks ending February 1 and 8, 2009. On February 14, Green scored in his eighth consecutive game, setting the NHL record for most consecutive games with a goal by a defenceman. The former record was set by Mike O’Connell in the 1983–84 NHL season. Then, after receiving a Second Star of the Week for the week ending March 23, he became just the eighth defenceman in history to score 30 goals in a season in a game against theNew York Islanders on April 1. Finishing with 31 goals on the season, Green tallied 18 on the powerplay, one short of Sheldon Souray‘s 2006–07 record of 19.
In 2009–10, Green set a career-high with 76 points. He missed a lot of time during the following two seasons due to various injuries.
|Competitor for Canada|
Following his breakout season with the Washington Capitals, Green debuted for Team Canada at the 2008 World Championships as the host country. He recorded 12 points in 8 games as Canada went on to win a silver medal, losing to Russia in overtime of the gold medal game. Green was named to the Tournament All-Star Team.
Off the ice
Green is involved in a number of community organizations and events. He is raising money for Children’s National Medical Center as part of America’s Giving Challenge, sponsored by Parade magazine. He also participated with Alex Ovechkin in speaking at a local middle school and participating in a game of floor hockey. Green also has a program called “Green’s Gang” where he purchases 7 season tickets and donates them to Most Valuable Kids, a non-profit organization that works with underprivileged kids and active military.
- Named to the World Championships All-Star Team in 2008.
- Named NHL Third Star of the Week for the weeks ending February 1 and February 8, 2009.
- Named NHL Second Star of the Week for the week ending March 23, 2009.
- Named to the NHL First All-Star Team in 2009 and 2010.