#2 / Defenseman / Los Angeles Kings
May 13, 1983
I call it the "Ol' Fuck You."
The Ol' Fuck You is when two guys are in the corner, battling for a puck, and one guys seemingly says, "Fuck you!" and shov- well, it's not really a shove, it's more of a two-handed punch to the chest- but anyway he punches the shit out of the other guy and sends him flying. It's hilarious and it's probably a penalty but I think the ref doesn't understand what he just saw. Then the player will simply flip the puck up the ice and head for the bench.
Matt Greene's a big fan of the Ol' Fuck You. He can't check very well while he's moving (because he's top heavy and his balance sucks), but when he and another player are standing flat he can usually devastate someone. I mean, the guy's 235 pounds, he can put a lot of weight behind his hands. It's like he forgets he's huge until he's in the corner and then a lightbulb flicks on in his head and he sends a grown man into the air like that man's Oscar Moller. (Oscar Moller was on the receiving end of approximately 90 Ol' Fuck You's last season.)
My favorite individual moment from the last season involved Greene. Randy Jones or whoever was skating the puck up along the right side when he ran into trouble and dished it back to Greene. The puck hit Greene in the skates and foundered around in there while Greene struggled to get it out. A Colorado (?) player was closing in fast and went to make a hit on Greene. Greene saw him at the last second and flung his fists out; it was the Open Ice Fuck You, a rare sight. The Colorado dude dropped like a sack of potatoes and Greene finally sent the puck down the ice and went to the bench.
I didn't know what to think: should I curse Matt Greene's inability to handle the puck? Well no, because then he couldn't have destroyed that other player and deprived me of joy. Should I think he's awesome for decking someone? Well no, because it was probably a penalty and plus wouldn't have gotten into that situation if he had a lick of ability. I'm conflicted about Matt Greene but I can't help but decide, yes, I do like him because at least he makes me laugh.
A lot of Matt Greene's game mixes bad with the good. He plays hockey like that spaz you used to know that would jam at all the buttons when you're playing Street Fighter 2, the one who couldn't even make Blanka form electricity, and then all of a sudden he'd bust out a Hadoken and then a Shoryu-Ken and before you knew it you were all bloody and you didn't know where the hell that came from. Then he'd go right back to 100 Hand Slapping the wrong way in the next match. Greene lures people into a false sense of security by being incompetent and then busts out of nowhere to make a great play. Well, most of the time; sometimes he just plain fucks up.
Greene's a solid #5 defenseman and a leader on the penalty kill. He's an assistant captain and is the organizer and leader of team events/pranks/dicking around. He's going to have to slowly move into the void left by Sean O'Donnell next season; instead of being a leader on the penalty kill he's going to have to become the leader. If Greene could somehow figure out how to play with Jack Johnson the Kings would be much better off, but I think they're both too spatially inept to gel. Greene will either play with a young guy or whatever defenseman the Kings bring in over the summer.
Greene's long-term future is a little cloudier; he'll likely serve as Thomas Hickey's Butch whenever Hickey makes it up and then... well, the Kings will probably give Greene the Ol' Fuck You and Greene will have to go ply his trade elsewhere. It's the life. But hey, at least Greene will make me laugh a few more times before then.