Sharp Blade

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Athletes are well known for their superstitions and weird habits but sometimes they can go a little overboard.

Calgary's Mike Green, a blueliner with the WHL's Saskatoon Blades, used to allow himself just one sip of water during a period when he was younger.

Naturally, the 19-year-old likes being hydrated, so that had to change.

"Now it's the whole bottle or as much as I can get down before I get back out there," said Green with a chuckle.

But he does have one major superstition he maintains during a game.

"I still don't look at the other team's score. It's just a thing I have, I don't want to see another number up on their side, so I just don't look up there. If I do end up looking at it, I look at ours and that cancels it out,"said Green, who played a year of midget in Calgary with the Northstars.

Lately, there's been nothing but good things on the Blades' side of the scoreboard as Saskatoon is tied for the WHL Eastern Conference lead with a record of 16-6-4. What's really remarkable about that mark is the Blades were a WHL-worst 7-52-11-2 last season, when Green was the team's second leading scorer.

He can laugh at the turnaround now but last season was anything but a laughing matter for the Blades, who didn't quite have the worst 72-game season of all time. That distinction belongs to the 1989-90 Victoria Cougars, who went 5-65-2. Currently, the 1-21-5-1 Moose Jaw Warriors are on pace to set a new record for futility.

"It was tough, it was tough. I'm sure some guys wanted to hang 'em up and not even come to the rink but you learn a lot about yourself and others going through a time like that," said Green, who leads the league with a plus/minus rating of plus-27.

Enter new head coach-GM Lorne Molleken and the Blades were able to turn things around.

"There are a lot of things it has to do with. I think one of the things is Lorne Molleken and (assistant coach) Chad Mercier coming to our hockey club," said Green, who stands 6 ft. 1 in. and weighs 205 lb.

"They've been outstanding to everyone, especially Lorne Molleken. He's really brought in a new attitude to our team. He's a well-respected man and he gets the most out of his players. And I think that's what's happened so far with our hockey club."

Despite playing on that brutal club, Green was still drafted in the first round this year by the Washington Capitals (29th overall), a day that he'll never forget.

"For sure the draft was the highlight of my career by far," he said, adding he had no idea the Caps were going to call his name. "I didn't have a clue. There were a couple of teams that seemed more interested than others but that day I was just clueless and I'm very excited to be with Washington.

"They're pretty young and there's lots of opportunity there."

Green's also hoping there's a spot for him on the junior national team for the upcoming world championship in December.

And for the second straight season, he'll be a part of the WHL all-star squad set to play the Russian Selects in the ADT Canada Russia Challenge in Red Deer tomorrow night and Lethbridge Thursday.


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