With all the accolades he has under his belt, Mike Green was still missing one: NHL All-Star. He had been named to post-season All-NHL teams before, but until this weekend in Raleigh he had never been invited to a game.
His first game was also the first game under a new fantasy draft format to determine teams, and Green was chosen to be one of the alternate captains for Team Staal. He, along with Ryan Kesler and Eric Staal, put together a team that smoked Team Lidstrom in the SuperSkills competition, but fell one goal short in the actual game the next day.
The start to Green and teammate Alex Ovechkin’s weekend was a hectic one. They both missed their original flight to Raleigh, arriving just in time for the fantasy draft on Friday night. Once there, Green settled in behind a desk with Kesler and Staal as they crafted their team. He even got to pick his captain, Ovechkin.
During the skills competition, Green participated in the Fastest Skater competition and the Relay. He lost his Fastest Skater race to Steven Stamkos, perhaps not the best match-up considering their positions.
In perhaps the most interesting of the different skills competitions, Green was one of three players on Team Staal shooting one-timers in the Challenge Relay. He relay team didn’t win, but picked up some points for their team finishing third.
In the game, Green was paired with Zdeno Chara. This is the beauty of All-Star games: two years ago, these were the top two vote-getters for the Norris Trophy, each getting votes for the complete opposite style of play from the other. In the All-Star game, they are able to join their tremendous talents and play side by side. Unfortunately it didn’t help Team Staal, who lost to Team Lidstrom 11-10. However, Green did pick up two assists in the first period.
Ovechkin was certainly the more colorful of the Caps contingent, but Green seemed to enjoy himself as well. When you’re playing with the best players in the world, how can you not?
Now he must return to a season that has seen some ups and downs. His defensive play is up and his offensive play is down as he tries to find the balance in Boudreau’s new system. The entire Capitals team faces that challenge coming into the second half of the season, but it was refreshing that for one weekend, Green and the other All-Stars could forget about the rigors of the regular season to just go out and have fun playing the game they all love. And they all genuinely seemed to do just that.