On Sunday after the team practiced in preparation for Monday's Avalanche game, Matt Greene and I spoke about all things Matt.
Greene talked about the reason he wanted to sign on for five more years so early in his Kings' tenure:
It's just the guys. The guys are great. The facilities are real nice. I get along with the guys. They are real great – the personalities …. On balance, I want to be around to see this play out.
Greene talked about an Edmonton Journal article who described him as an 'old school' hockey player. Does he agree and why?
It is just like a defensive style of defenseman, stay at home guy. Now it is described as an old school kind of guy. When I was coming up, that was the way we did it. I guess if that is old school, than that is what it is.
Greene on how he got the nickname, Mean Matt Greene:
That was from Mean Joe Green with the Steelers. I think it is just a little spin there. It is whatever … People are going to call you wherever it is. I don’t think I am that angry individual off the ice.
Greene on his leadership style when he was the captain at University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux:
I don’t know if it is really a style. It is just being who you are really. I like to have a good time, keep the guys loose off the ice. It is just playing. The best thing is to lead by example. You talk when you have to. It is just how you play. You have to step up to play - play your style - play your game, just be yourself and no one else.
Greene on what he did to keep his teammates loose off the ice:
It is just to joke around a little bit, have fun being one of the guys, be yourself. If guys are talking, guys are laughing, then guys are having a good time and you are not concentrating. You are not too worried. There is always time to bear down. If guys are having a good time, they are going to play a lot better.
Greene on practical jokes with his teammates:
I think everybody has done this (play a practical joke on teammates). If they haven’t, I don’t want them on my team. You have to take advantage of anything you can with these guys. You see everybody every day. Any chance to razz guys a little bit, if you can laugh at somebody’s expense in a good way, I think you got to take it. You are around everybody so long; it gets monotonous if you don’t.
My attempt to get Greene to share one of his favorite pranks on a teammate:
One of my favorite pranks…. It has been awhile. It is kind of a heat of the moment thing. There have been some good ones over the years. I don’t think I really am going to divulge too much, too much info…. (Drat… I tried!)
Hockeys’ Future described Greene as the roughest and toughest players in the entire NCAA with no challenge too big. Greene on some obstacles he faced and how he overcame them:
I think the biggest challenge was just making it to the NHL, coming up through the minors. I think you just got to stick with it. When you are with a young team, making your way, getting on the roster, that is probably the biggest challenge of any athlete. I don’t know any secrets, it is just hard work.
While Greene was with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux, an opposing player at Denver, Geoff Paukovich hit Greene’s teammate Robbie Bina breaking Bina’s neck. Since this was during the NCAA tourney, Greene chose to wait to respond to this hit later when they were both at the Oilers’ training camp. Greene talks about this personal score:
He (Paukovich) had a late hit on one of my good friends, a teammate, he broke his neck. It was just something that kind of boiled over. It is in the past now. It is like anything in hockey, one of those things that happen. You are not friends with everyone you play with.It is not all about personality. Personal feelings, you got to know that it is an important game so…. It was tough. You can’t be an idiot. You can’t put your team down. It is just part of the game.
Edmonton Journal on Greene’s old school hockey, old scores with Paukovich and why does everyone want to trade him
Good Time to Mend Fences Between Greene and Paukovich
Hockeys Future on Greene and Paukovich
Some say you have to lose to learn how to win. If that is the case, then Greene discussed what he ‘learned’ from losing in the NCAA Finals to the Pioneers in the championship game and to Carolina in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals:
I don’t think you learn that much. I think it is an experience. You see if you can change the scenario and come out on top. I think the experience is something you will always have. It takes so much to win in this league. I don’t think anybody really knows or goes and take it easy the first time. It can only help you.
Greene on his best personal moment in the 2006 Oilers’ Cup run:
I would say just being on the ice when we won in triple overtime in San Jose. That was a big moment for me - just being that I was there – being in the Western Conference Championship. That was a feeling that I won’t forget.
Greene decreased his PIM totals considerably from his NCAA play at North Dakota to when he made it to the NHL. Greene discussed how he made that happen:
You just got to skate more. When you are in the NHL, you got to move your feet, can’t hook or hold and all those things … if you take those penalties, you are not going to play. I think that is basically it right there. It is a matter of survival. If you are not disciplined, you are not gonna play. If you are not playing, you might not be in the league.
Greene on the differences and similarities between the rebuilding Oilers and the rebuilding Kings:
The similarity is just young talent. We were in the same situation last year. We got these young kids. They’re unproven but they’re hungry. As the season went along, you saw the same thing. Guys got better and better developed, got more confidence. By the end of the year, we made a run. It was just a little bit too late. I can see the same thing here. You have young kids coming through but they got a ton of talent, a ton of confidence. I think they are just going to develop and it is going to be fun to watch.
Greene on how it has or has not affected his game to have three different defensive partners in this very young season:
That is the way it really is. You are gonna have guys, injuries happen. I think as a player – professionally – it doesn’t matter who you are playing with – you got to be able to play. Obviously it going to affect you. You got to roll with the punches. Hopefully when he (Johnson) comes back, we can start it up again.
Greene on how he earned the “A” during Training Camp:
It was just being myself, that’s it – just having some positive energy - just playing my game. I didn’t bring anything out of the normal, just come to the rink, and have a good time.
Greene discussed what his occupation would be if he wasn’t a hockey player:
…Maybe a fireman – something in my hometown.
Greene on what makes his hometown, Grand Ledge Michigan, so special (picture Greene’s face lighting up like a Christmas tree at the mention of his hometown when he answered the question and you can get an idea how much Grand Ledge means to him.)
It is pretty much the greatest city in the world. It is a special place. You got to go there. You got to go there to really feel it. I would recommend it to anybody. I don’t think it is on a lot of travel plans. You have to go there and see Grand Ledge Michigan.
The Kings have a fair number of NCAA athletes. Greene on who brags and heckles the most:
It is tough to say right now. I don’t know. Nobody has really played it up too much. It will start more when the hockey season gets going. I don’t think we have too much Big 10 action. It is just a matter of the season getting going.
Greene on what celebrity he would most like to meet and why:
Christopher Walken. He is a pretty interesting individual. I think he has a couple stories in him (to tell). I don’t think anybody knows what the hell he is thinking at any given time. He would be fun to have dinner with.
Read more about Mean Matt Greene here:
Wikipedia on Greene
Greene on the Frozen Four
Greene Pulling a funny on Marty Reasoner
South Smythian Rolo-Gater on Matt Greene
Matt Green Interview Video between Periods against Predators on his 100th NHL game
Jeremy Reich vs. Greene Fisticuffs