Green Savored All-Star Moments
Mike Green treated his second NHL All-Star Game as if it might be the last. The Detroit Red Wings defenseman sought to savor every moment that he experienced on the weekend in Tampa Bay.
“It was a great time,” said Green, whose Atlantic Division squad lost 5-2 to the Pacific Division in the final of the three-on-three tournament, told Detroitredwings.com. “I wanted to really talk to the guys, and it was nice to get to know the guys that I didn’t know. Unfortunately, we didn’t win but we still had a blast.”
Learning a little a bit about the personalities of the players he’s normally paid to shut down was a treat as well.
“You know about their talents and how good they are during the season,” Green said. “Obviously, you don’t get to see a lot of it, depending on what division or conference they’re in.
“So it was nice to see everybody kind of showcased. I hope the fans enjoyed it because that’s obviously what it was about.”
Not one for collecting memorabilia, Green did bring home one treasured souvenir from the event.
“We get to keep our jerseys,” Green said. “I did actually get the guys who were on my team to sign that.”
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper and Detroit’s Jeff Blashill are longtime friends and constantly take playful digs at each other through the media. Given the opportunity through the All-Star Game to coach Green, one of Blashill’s players, Cooper just couldn’t help himself.
“OK, so I’m going to let this one out of the bag,” Cooper said. “Jeff Blashill sent me a text right after the game saying you needed a few more Wings on the team and I sent one back to him that said, ‘(Green) finally got some good coaching.’
“It was great having him. He’s been doing that for a long time. Had we won the game, maybe (Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov) would have got MVP but Green would have been right behind him. He was great for us.”
With the NHL taking a pass on the Winter Olympics, there won’t be any current Red Wings at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, but the Wings will still have some ties to the competitors.
Former Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk and ex-Wings defenseman Alexei Marchenko will both be in the lineup for the Russian team, who figure to be the favorites to win the gold medal.
Forward Jan Mursak, a Red Wing for 46 games between 2010-13, is the only player with NHL experience on Slovenia’s team. Ex-Wings draftee and farmhand Dick Axelsson is a forward with Swden. And Swedish defenseman Staffan Kronwall, once an NHLer with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the younger brother of Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall.
“It’s definitely a proud moment any time you get the chance to represent your country in the Olympics is a pretty big deal,” Kronwall said of his brother’s selection. “He’s been playing on the national team for a few years, played a few worlds.
“I think he felt he had a pretty good shot but at the end of the day you never know.”
Jim Paek, formerly the assistant coach with Detroit’s AHL farm club in Grand Rapids, will be behind the bench for the host South Koreans.
Hall of Famers
Two former Wings are among the class of 2018 being inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame.
Current Wings pro scout Glen Merkosky, who played forward for the Wings and in the Detroit organization from 1985-91, will be enshrined, as will Brian Kilrea. Kilrea played one game for the Red Wings in 1957-58.
Kilrea’s uncles Hec, Wally and Ken all played forward for the Wings in the 1930s and 1940s.
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