“The first one was a lot different than this one.” Those sound like good words from the mouth of Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who on Saturday took a shot to the head just as he did Feb. 6.
This time it was Matt Gilroy, and by all accounts Green came out of the game much better than he did two months ago when Brooks Orpik’s shot hit him.
“They make good helmets and this time it hit me in the helmet,” Green said. “I’m OK so that’s all that matters.”
Green, who doesn’t intend on watching the replay of Gilroy’s shot, practiced with his teammates Tuesday and insisted he was fine.
“You know what? I’m OK,” he said. “So if you guys want to ask me about playoffs and the next round or how we’re preparing I’ll answer but I’m OK.”
Green’s health – especially his head – is a major concern, given that he missed 26 of the final 28 regular-season games with a concussion. But coach Bruce Boudreau deemed him “ready to play.”
Of course, given that the Caps could have as many as six days between games, there’s plenty left to discuss about the play and blocking shots with your noggin. The strength of his helmet certainly helped Green substantially.
“The equipment is tremendous. You would never have seen a guy like that in the ‘60s and ‘70s go down for the sake of Mike getting hit in the head. Because it would have done severe damage,” Boudreau said. “But the equipment has gone from small to larger and from soft equipment to really hard equipment and like I said you look at some of this equipment and it’s like they’re going to war. Because it’s so hard and the new technology, the strength of it, which makes you feel a little bit braver when you are blocking a shot.”
At the end of the day, though, it’s still “courage” that makes guys block shots.
“It takes courage and it’s an art form, too,” Boudreau said. “Because the really good ones really know how to time it, really know how to go down and do it. And you wonder how they don’t get hurt.”
This time the Caps aren’t wondering – they’re just glad Green didn’t get hurt that badly.