Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mike Green, Goal Scorer

A colleague at work is friends with and grew up with Mike Green in Calgary. For this reason, I have been following him quite closely since his first pro season with the Hershey Bears of the AHL. His development into an elite defenseman in the NHL is impressive and fun to watch, especially being a Canadian Olympic hockey team fan.
Green's current scoring exploits are nearing historical proportions. His sixth consecutive game with a goal set a franchise record for defensemen and he's the first d-man since Ray Bourque in 1984 to accomplish that. I can't find what the all-time defenseman record is, but Punch Broadbent had 16 straight games with a goal in 1921/22 and Charlie Simmer went 13 straight in 79/80. One article I read says that defenseman Bobby Connors of the 1928/29 Detroit Cougars notched a goal in 11 consecutive matches. I am doubting this is true, as Connors had a total of only 13 goals in 41 total games that season. It seems improbable that he would score most of those in 11 games.
Green's 19 goals in 41 games played would put him on pace for one of the greatest goal seasons in NHL history for a defender. As it stands, even missing 13 games with a shoulder injury, he has the chance to join some exclusive company. Since returning from injury on December 12, he has played 23 games and scored 12 goals. That pace continued over the remaining 28 games would give him 34 goals in his 69 games played. Only three men in NHL history have score more than 34 goals as a defenseman. Paul Coffey with 48 owns the record, and three times had 37 or more goals. Bobby Orr had 46 in 1974/75 and also notched at least 37 three times. Doug Wilson scored 39 in 81/82 to round out the top d-men scoring seasons ever.
It's reasonable to think that Mike Green has a 40 goal season in his future which would be more impressive considering the relative league scoring of today. In 85/86, when Coffey scored 48, the league averaged 7.93 goals per game, and it was 6.85 G/GP in 1975 for Orr's 46 goals. As of Feb, 8, '09 the average is 5.78 goals per game for both teams. If Green were to notch 35 this year it would translate to 48 goals exactly in 1986 when 37% more goals were scored each game.
Any way you look at it, Mike Green is having a terrific year and at 23 years of age he should only get better. If he doesn't make the Canadian Olympic squad, it will be as big a mistake as Crosby being left off in 2006.


Fredrik Vilborg said...

Why do you point to a bunch of forwards goalscoring streaks? You mean Gretzky, Lemieux, Kurri or Hull etc did'nt have such streaks as well? They may not, but what do you say about that?

Bidnall said...

Same as Crosby???? NO, no, no. Crosby was just a kid, and clearly NOT one of the best 13 forwards Canada had to offer. Green is clearly Canada's best offensive defenseman and deserves (and will take) a spot on the roster.

Nitzy said...

Finding information on consecutive goal streaks is difficult at best. I merely put those streaks in as a point of reference. I'm still not certain of the defenseman consecutive goals streak, if Green scores tonight to make it 7 straight, I'm sure we'll hear more about it.

Nitzy said...

Crosby SHOULD have been on the squad and WAS one of the top 13forwards. In fact, John Tavares will be in the same boat next year....after watching him in the World Juniors I say put him on the squad!!!! Kidding...or am I?

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