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Greene leading by example on Devils' blue line

Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 10:02 AM ET / News
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Greene leading by example on Devils\' blue line
Greene leading by example on Devils\' blue line
Greene celebrates his OT winner last Saturday in Washington.
New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene appreciates the fact that people are asking him how he feels about not making it on to the United States' long list for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but he's actually somewhat shocked that it's even been a topic of conversation in hockey circles.

"To tell you the truth I guess I would be more surprised if I was on that list," Greene said.

Greene is not subject to the Olympic drug-testing protocol administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency under guidelines set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency because he was not put on the USA's long list. A USA Hockey representative said players omitted from the long list are not technically ineligible to play in the Olympics because there is an appeal process, but it's clearly more difficult for them.

"It honestly wasn't really something that was on my mind," Greene said. "It didn't cross my mind one way or the other, being disappointed or excited."

Greene, though, is humbled that the omission of his name is even being discussed.

"It means I'm doing something right that there is that talk of a what-if," Greene said. "It's not something I look at, though. Me playing at a high level helps our team and that's the way I try to look at it. I'm not going to sit there and sulk. Really things happen for a reason."

Greene certainly has been playing at level befitting a guy who could have been receiving legitimate Olympic consideration. He's been the Devils' most consistent and reliable defenseman, averaging more than 24 minutes of ice time per game and leading the team's blue liners with 20 points in 39 games, including a three-point night with an overtime winner Saturday against the Washington Capitals.

Greene is easily one of the most unassuming No. 1 defenseman in the NHL. He joins the rush, but he isn't flashy. He rarely says anything off color or not in line with the Devils' overall message of team first, everything else a distant second.

"Last year he was our best defenseman, hands down, through the shortened schedule and he's carried that into this year," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence in all situations against everybody's best players. There's not much more to say than that."

Well that's not entirely true. The other element that Greene has brought to the Devils this season is leadership and guidance to their stable of young, promising defensemen. Through his play, Greene has served as something of a mentor to rookies Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill.

"He's a great influence because he plays the game the right way," DeBoer said. "He's a true pro. He shows up and this is a guy that wasn't given anything, wasn't drafted and has worked for everything he's got. It's great to have people like in the room."

Greene signed with the Devils in 2006 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami (Ohio). His only international experience came at the IIHF World Championship in 2010.

"He's a huge key component of this team and I think he's one of the best defensemen in the League," Merrill said. "I don't understand why he doesn't get that much recognition, but he should. He deserves it."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 69 16 24 -3 40
M. Cammalleri 62 25 13 3 38
P. Elias 63 11 21 -16 32
S. Gomez 52 7 24 -7 31
S. Bernier 61 13 14 3 27
T. Zajac 68 11 12 -4 23
A. Larsson 58 3 19 3 22
A. Greene 76 3 18 3 21
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
E. Gelinas 56 6 11 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 28 8 .928 2.19
K. Kinkaid 5 5 3 .918 2.47