Hockey Canada announced its roster for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver today, and Mike Green is not on it. The Washington Capitals defenseman was not among the seven selected at his position.
Green leads the NHL with 38 points and is tied for the league lead with nine goals. Last year Green led all NHL defensemen with 31 goals and 73 points. The year before he led all NHL defensemen with 18 goals.
In short, Green has been the best offensive defenseman in the NHL since Bruce Boudreau became his head coach. There have always been questions about his two-way play, and apparently the Hockey Canada decision makers weren’t willing to place their trust in Green.
Did Green deserve to be there? His coach and teammates will say so. A lot of people will say so, and the answer is probably yes. But there were only seven spots and about 10 very, very deserving candidates. If he were born in any other country that has a team in the field, Mike Green would be in Vancouver.
Green has used snubs as motivation before (i.e. the past two all-star games), but it will be interesting to see how he reacts to this letdown. This is almost certainly one of the biggest disappointments of his career — much bigger than not making an all-star team or even the Norris trophy this past summer.
There were basically five locks for the team: Scott Neidermayer, Chris Pronger, Shea Webber, Dan Boyle and Duncan Keith. That left two spots that went to Brent Seabrook and Drew Doughty. The TSN crew said the last guy cut was Jay Bouwmeester, so maybe Green wasn’t part of the last-minute discussions, after all.
This is important because an injury to one of the seven selected could open up a spot at the last minute and the guy who was last left off could be given a reprieve.