Andy Green finds the perfect fit with the Islanders


Two days before his 1,000th NHL game against the Lightning on Monday, 39-year-old Andy Green was asked about his old teammate.

“Yeah, I don’t fall for that number,” Greene said of Zdeno Chara’s 1,619 career games. “I promise you. It’s unbelievable. It’s remarkable.”

It served as a good reminder of a couple things: the collective age of intelligent islanders and the small miracle that Chara could still put on skates. This gives you the chance to forget Green, who has a career in swan song on the island after 14 years with ghosts.

But he has. Here is the memory of their first match.

“He was in the old Continental [Airlines Arena] There in Jersey, ”he said. “We played Atlanta.”

Andy Green on the NHL debut with the Devils.
Neil Miller

Like, franchise out of Winnipeg for the last decade.

On a January night in 2007, however, the Thrashers were heading to the first and only playoff spot. Ilya Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov, two Soviet-born players, post-defender, had help. Devils pro Sergei Brillin became the power-play winner. Zach Paris had a secondary assist.

So maybe some things will change more than others.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin, left, celebrates her shutout against the Arizona Coyotes with defenseman Andy Green as the game expires on October 23, 2021 in Glendale, Ariz.
Ilya Sorokin and Andy Green
AP

Still, Green, once a free agent out of Miami-Ohio, understands the possibility of this moment coming.

“It’s not something you think about when you’re starting your career,” he said Saturday. “As I have said many times, you worry about your first game when you first start.… You are fighting to stay.

“I’ve tried to do that throughout my entire career. Just a little scratch and claw and go from here.

The Trenton, Michigan, native found something in New Jersey, though – that made him stick. Green played a key role in the Devils’ team that made the Stanley Cup final in 2012, along with five other playoff appearances there.

When Lou Lamoriello saw the opportunity to bring him to the Islanders in February 2020, he jumped on it. Fourteen years ago, Lamoriello had signed Green with the Devils.

“It just felt like the perfect fit,” Green said of his original deal with the Devils, which made joining the Islanders much easier.

Along with the islanders, he is one of the oldest – and oldest – men in the Green Room. This week, Matthew Barzal joked that he wants to be closer to Green’s age.

“At 24, I feel like he and I had a blast together,” Barzal said.

It is an act of respect for Barzal and the other players in his team.

“They’re big for us,” Josh Bailey said Saturday. “I can’t say enough good things. You can see why he’s been there for so long. He’s just a character guy and a player.

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