Andy Greene Became The 1st Player In Devils' History To Record Over 200 Blocked Shots In a Season, Which Is A Testament To Him And An Indictment Of His Defense
First and foremost, a tip of the hat to Andy Greene. During a season full of decidedly uncool moments in which he's far too often been treated as a scapegoat by some, it's pretty damn cool for him to be the first to officially reach such a selfless milestone for such a historically defensive franchise as one of its longest tenured veterans. There certainly hasn't been any questioning of his captaincy from within the locker room, but let this stat serve as the fist that shoves it up the ass of everyone outside said locker room that doesn't understand what his presence might mean to a young team. The record-setting beating he's taken is not only a sign that he still has some old man's tricks to provide to a young man's game, but also proof that even when he doesn't lead by example in execution, he's doing so in effort.
Now, what this says about the Devils' defense isn't anywhere close to as complimentary as I just was towards Andy Greene, for the amount of time a 36 year defenseman has to play to be 25(!) blocked shots ahead of the next closest player in the entire league is extremely troublesome. I don't think it's a secret that his instinctive penalty killing prowess as a gluttonous minutes-devourer for one of the best shorthanded units in the NHL is a factor. However, so is the fact that he spends way too much time stuck in over his head as someone who has no business being a part of a first pairing at this stage in his career. All the credit to him for sacrificing his body to make up for the physical shortcomings unloaded on him by Father Time, but they wouldn't be anywhere as highlighted if he was at...say...170 blocks on the season as a high quality third-pairing PK specialist.
As far as Andy Greene's leadership is concerned, that organizationally unmatched stat speaks directly to it. Unfortunately, it also speaks to the thankless and unforgiving role he's not once complained about being forced to fill as a bruised up brick wall for a depleted defense.