Building the Herd – Joe Greener

#97 Joe Greener

Position: Forward

Born: Basingstoke, Hampshire

Announced as signed: Basingstoke Gazette, 2/4/15

Back once again; Joe Greener returns to the Bison for 2015/16 (c) 5 Hole Photography

Back once again; Joe Greener returns to the Bison for 2015/16
(c) 5 Hole Photography

With the disappointment of the playoff loss to Manchester still ringing in the ears, coach Doug Sheppard has lifted the spirits of the Bison faithful with the return of two free scoring British forwards starting with the 2014/15 player/assistant coach, Joe Greener.

Greener, now 28 will be entering his 4th campaign in Basingstoke and his 8th career season of EPL hockey. Greener’s career EPL totals stand at 440 points in 345 career EPL games having finished the 2014/15 season with 65 points from 52 league and cup encounters.

The former Bracknell and Slough forward spent time in the North American Hockey League, one of the USA’s premier junior leagues, before returning to Britain in 2008 to join the Bees. He moved to Slough in 2009 for three seasons where he was alternate captain for one year and captain for two. Greener won a trophy in all three years with the Jets as he captured two playoff titles and one EPL cup.

Greener followed Sheppard to Basingstoke in 2012 where he has been ever since. Having been roundly booed by Basingstoke fans whilst a Jet, at over a point per game, Greener has been integral to the Bison’s attack during his time with the Herd and a true fan favourite. His partnership with Doug Sheppard has been exploited by the Bison’s coach across his time in Hampshire and their combination with Ciaran Long during the 2014/15 season was one that caused nightmares for defences up and down the EPL.

This is smart PR by the Bison. We all knew that the high times at the end of 2013/14 were unlikely to repeat themselves in 2014/15, certainly not a double winning season again. Everyone is understandably disappointed after the games against Manchester so what’s the best way to up people’s spirits ahead of the weekend? Throw a blockbuster at them.

We’ll get onto Long in greater detail tomorrow because obviously this is a massive double wammy of a signing but let’s be honest here; as one of the EPIHL’s premier Brits, Greener is a massive signing in his own right. I maintain that he is one of the league’s premier power forwards.

If you only watch the odd game of Joe Greener he can be a hard player to get a handle on at times. He’s a player whose game has a rhythm to it and sometimes, if he doesn’t quite get into that rhythm he doesn’t score points and people find him to be ineffectual. The problem with that argument is over a 48 or 54 game season, or in the clutch as Bison fans will tell you, look at the numbers he puts up.

Greener’s game is edgy but overall really skilful. He’s got a superb hockey brain to go with the fact he’s a physical presence, can pass really well and score. OK he doesn’t score the pretty goals of Long but when he’s in his office by the side of the net, there are few better players in that space. He’s almost impossible to move due to his size and strength as it is but he also has a habit of being in the right place at the right time. How often have we seen the play be in tight around the net and Greener ghost himself away that step or two from the defenceman so when the pass comes from Long or Sheppard, he’s all alone to fire into a half empty net. That sort of intuition is hard to teach.

The one thing that’s not been confirmed as of yet is whether Sheppard plays himself next season. It’s expected at this stage but there’s no confirmation from the club as of yet (Sheppard’s contract as coach is a rolling one but his playing was for one season) so we do need to ask the question; what if Sheppard doesn’t return?

Yes I realise that he probably will be but do we see a potential Greener, Karpov, Long line? It’s possible though depending on the rest of the forwards on the roster that’s potentially very top heavy. If Sheppard returns then it’s obvious where we start off but it remains to be seen of course.

With a bit but not much known about the roster, it’s hard to speculate too much at the moment so we’ll sit back and enjoy what we do know.

Welcome back, Joe.

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