Green good as gold

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

This was literally a veteran move by Randy Carlyle and Craig Heisinger.

The move to carry an extra veteran paid dividends during the American Hockey League regular season and has been even more important during the Calder Cup playoffs.

After watching long-time veteran Jimmy Roy give the Moose a commanding 3-1 lead in the North Division final with the game winner on Wednesday night, the final veteran added to the mix made a monster contribution in last night's series clincher.

Josh Green, a veteran of 232 NHL games, went to training camp with the Moose without a contract but quickly earned a pro tryout offer with his solid play and versatility.

Green made his biggest contribution of the season last night, notching a natural hat trick in the second period to lead the Moose into the Western Conference final.

"Anytime a player has an individual night like he did, it makes a lot of people look good," said Carlyle. "The one thing that Josh Green did when he came here, was that he was able to bide his time. He had NHL experience and the one thing in talking to him when we were making a pitch to bringing him here was that he wanted to play and we felt we could give him a chance to play."

Carlyle even used Green at centre for a time but the veteran told him he would provide more offence from the wing.

Green was good to his word, scoring 21 goals and 40 points in 67 games with the Moose this season.

But there was a time not long ago when many wondered if Green would be able to play in the playoffs.

Green suffered a mysterious flu virus in March that caused him to lose roughly 20 pounds and miss nine games.

"I haven't even really thought about it but that's a good point," said Green. "For awhile there, it didn't look good at all. I was losing weight and I could barely get out of bed. The doctors did a great job getting me back. I'm glad it's behind me now."

Green, who spent part of the 2002-03 season with the Washington Capitals (where Carlyle was an assistant coach), returned to the lineup on April 9 and played the final six games of the regular season which gave him time to find his legs.

In the opening round series against the St. John's Maple Leafs, Green had three goals but felt he needed to do more against the Americans.

Thanks to last night's outburst, Green finished this round with four goals and seven points and now has seven goals and 10 points in 10 playoff games.

"It's nice to look back on some of the decisions you made early in the year that kind of work out for you," said Green. "I'm grateful Zinger gave me the opportunity to play here."


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