When Green is making opponents respect offense coming from the blue line, life is easier on the likes of Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Ribeiro. He’s a calming influence on the point on the power play and dangerous at five-on-five.
But Green’s contributions as an all-around defenseman might be just as important.
“He’s also playing good defensively,” Brouwer said. “He’s out there on the penalty kill, which I don’t know if he used to do a lot before. He’s playing good, solid hockey and he’s doing things we need to do to win. Like jumping up in the rush, making it more difficult for their back-checkers to handle us, and we’re creating more offense as a result.”
Green is creating more offense individually too. His game is clicking well enough that he’s dictating the pace of play.
“As far as seeing the ice and getting opportunities, everything kind of slows down again where you can see the holes,” he said.
Vision is one element of Green’s game that made him a transcendent offensive defenseman a few years ago, when he was putting up 60-plus points. He got Lasix surgery before the season but only lately has he had such a keen eye for the net.
“I see some of that, for sure,” Oates said. “When you miss a lot of games, it affects your timing. Even when you come back, he’s been hurt a few years consecutively, so that affects your timing, your conditioning, your reads. That’s one of the tough parts of the job.”
At least lately it’s a part of the job Green has started to recapture.