As is standard practice for NHL players on teams that didn't make the playoffs or teams who lost in the first round, invites are sent out by the national team for the annual IIHF World Championships. Today, Tom Gulitti reported that defenseman Andy Greene will be going to Germany to represent the U.S. in the 2010 IIHF World Championships.
As far as I know, he is the only Devil to be officially added to a WC roster at this time. The American roster is filled, so no, 2010 Olympian Zach Parise and pending UFA Paul Martin either declined or wasn't invited. I'm not certain about the other nation's rosters, but with the tournament beginning on May 7, I imagine the rosters have to be set very soon if not now. I'll keep a look out for any other Devils going to Germany for the tourney. Back to Greene, he will get to take part in a special event as the first game (again on May 7) features Germany versus the United States at Gelsenkirchen, a 76,000+ seat stadium normally used for soccer (the home stadium of Bundesliga "giants" Schalke 04). The game itself is slated to set a world record for most spectators at a ice hockey game, so Greene will get to be a part of history.
To that end, as much as he (and you and I) would rather wish he was still in the playoffs, it's a nice reward after an excellent season. I've detailed why he's been so great a few weeks ago; but I'd like to add to it.
Per Tom Awad's GVT stat, a statistical measure of a player's contribution to their team, and stored at Behind the Net, Greene led the Devils' defense with a total GVT of 11.0 including a defensive value (a defensive GVT) of 6.6. That 6.6 defensive value is massive in comparison to the rest of the league. Only 11 players in the league have finished 09-10 with a higher defensive GVT than Greene. It puts him ahead of Norris finalist Mike Green, whose value is only 5.3. (Aside #1: Two Devils forwards and 3 other Devils defensemen all had a higher defensive GVT than Greene, can you guess who? Aside #2: To be fair, Green's total GVT is far higher because the dude showed no mercy on offense, far more than any Devils defenseman can dream of.)
Not that GVT is the end-all, be-all of stats, but it's another measure that highlights how much Greene has done this season. Let's dig a little deeper - specifically the PK. While his on-ice, off-ice numbers in terms of goals against per 60 on the penalty kill weren't great (6.54 when on; 5.36 when off); the shots against per 60 dropped from 40.6 to 33.1 during the PK per Behind the Net. Likewise, while Greene was playing with good teammates (Qualteam of 0.221), he often faced strong competition on the second PK unit (Qualcomp of 0.292 - highest among regular PK defensemen). Again, not great, but a long way coming from a guy who only saw third pairing minutes and maybe the power play on special teams. I may be positive, but I take it as proof of how his responsibilities grew.
Oh, and he was the one Devils' defenseman who was contributing some offense in more than just a few points here and there during the season.
|2009 - Andy Greene
So congratulations to Greene for being recognized by USA Hockey to represent his nation for the first time in his professional career. Good luck to him and the Americans in Gelsenkirchen, Cologne, and Mannheim.