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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."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59