“We are live from the NHL awards in Las Vegas! Up next is the Norris Trophy recipient announcement….”
“Announcing the James Norris Memorial Trophy rewarded to the NHL’s most outstanding defenseman during the 2011-2012 regular season; Matt Greene!”
Alright alright… this is probably something we will never hear during our life times, but I believe Matt Greene has been over looked this season by fans and media in the hockey world. He deserves more credibility than what he has received this season. You won’t see the 6’3″, 237 pound d-man on highlight reels often. Greene is never going to ‘wow’ you with his point totals (career high 14 points in 08-09). He will not ‘dazzle’ you with end to end rushes (skating ability is often times criticized by Kings fans). Matt Greene for certain will not make you jump out of your seat with fancy dekes and stick handling, but he is for certain a huge reason the Kings are currently still in the mix for a playoff spot. Plain and simple; the dude knows how to play defense, and has matured into one of the most valuable ‘stay-at-home’ defenseman in the NHL.
Matt Greene loves to hit. His physical presence on the Kings back end is something no other Kings defense man comes close to. He has been near the top of the league in hits his entire career and has continued that this season by being 2nd in hits among defensemen in the entire NHL. Greene may be a 3rd pairing guy for the Kings, but I believe on any other team he is a 2nd pairing guy. The Kings just have so much depth.
The important thing about Matt Greene’s game this season has been his discipline. Over the past 3 seasons Greener has averaged 88 penalty minutes per season. This year he is only has 20 penalty minutes in 50 games, he is on page for only around 37 penalty minutes in the entire season. That is a huge improvement.
His +/- has also been hovering around neutral to even above that this season. In all three seasons with the Kings he has been on the plus side of things. The intangibles are obviously the leadership. Matt Greene knows how to be a leader. He will drop the gloves if needed and leads by example on the ice by giving an honest effort every night. He will be a very valuable intangible in the playoffs and if the Kings do not get any upgrades on offense he is going to have one challenge in trying to improve the teams already strong D. Remember, every play in the playoffs is magnified.
Matt Greene will never win the Norris trophy but he could just win the Stanley Cup. Sooner, rather than later.