SUN Hockey Pool

Home costs break bank

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

This hit to the credit card will be big for Mike Green.

But so well worth it.

The Calgary kid and Washington Capitals rookie defenceman, playing in the Saddledome for the first time as an NHLer, ate the bill for the 25 tickets needed so his family members could cheer him on last night against the Flames.

At least, he figures they all had the intention of being his personal cheering section.

After all, it was a hot ticket with the Capitals' rising superstar Alexander Ovechkin at the 'Dome for the first time in his career.

"I can't say that, that's for sure," Green answered when asked if he was certain all those on hand were coming specifically for him.

"Alex is a great player. Coming through this west trip and seeing the buildings sold out, it's special to see a player like that.

"But I think my friends will be cheering for me."

Certainly, they have reason to be proud of Green.

In only his second pro year, the 21-year-old has done more than just put his foot in the NHL door.

Going into last night's game against his hometown squad, Green was third among Capitals blueliners with three points (2-1-3) while averaging more than 16 minutes a game in ice time.

His plus-2 rating is respectable in a lineup that has plenty of U.S. Open-winning scores on it.

That bodes well for Green, who played 22 NHL games last season while also putting together an outstanding first-year pro season in the AHL.

"I feel more part of the team than last year and it's a great group of guys," said the 6-ft. 1-in., 205-lb. blueliner. "This organization is heading in the right direction and it's great to be part of that and develop with these young guys and learn.

"I'm learning every day but the most important thing is I feel more comfortable every day."

Not bad for somebody who was just like so many of the youngsters in the building watching him last night, dreaming they might play in the NHL some day.

"Going to the Flames games and going to the Hitmen games here in Calgary and being a fan of the league growing up, it's kinda special to come back to your hometown and be playing in the best league in the world," he said.

"I remember thinking as a kid I wanted to play here. Now it's all happening."

But last night's game wasn't the first. Green played with the AMHL Calgary Northstars before moving to the WHL Saskatoon Blades.

Those experiences, however, can't compare.

"It's a little different," he said. "You're looking at players you idolized when you were growing up. But it's no different once you get out playing, then it's the same."


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