Mike Green and his wonky groin are back for the Capitals

Defenseman Mike Green returns to the Washington Capitals' lineup on Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames, playing for the first time since straining his groin on Nov. 11.

Said Green on Monday after practice, regarding this game against this hometown team:

"I would love to. I've got to get back in to games," Green said, but acknowledged that the decision will not be his alone but made in conjunction with the team's doctors and athletic trainers. "Got to make sure we do this right. If it means not playing tomorrow and taking another week then we'll do it. As of right now I feel good and we'll assess it today."

According to Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, Alex Semin is scratched tonight (upper body injury) as the Capitals skate with seven defensemen.

The frustrating thing for the Capitals is that Mike Green's return to the lineup can legitimately be followed with the caveat "for how long?" nowadays.

He was limited to 49 games last season, and has played just eight this season. He said his groin injury is something he's "going to have to be cognizant of" for the rest of his career; which either speaks to it being chronic or just the nature of the pro hockey player.

Green returns at an interesting time for this Capitals team: Three straight wins and a 4-1-1 streak in the last two weeks under Dale Hunter, before heading to San Jose and Los Angeles, and then Pittsburgh next Wednesday.

They've shown flashes of playing the type of dominating, come-at-you-in-waves hockey that this lineup can play when it's on. They've also shown a propensity for baffling mental lapses during games that Bruce Boudreau couldn't coach out of them.

Welcome back, Mike Green. So what you can do to help Iginla notch No. 500 tonight, m'kay?

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