CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Mike Knuble
Mike KnublePosition: Right Wing
HtWt: 6-3, 229
Penalty Minutes: 32
Average Ice Time: 13:56
Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent
Strengths: A hard-working, veteran leader with a strong voice in the locker room, Knuble showed incredible professionalism during his most trying season in the NHL. Many believe Knuble can still be an offensive presence on the power play, where he is adept at deflecting pucks and jamming in rebounds.
Weaknesses: Knuble works his tail off in the offseason but he has lost a step and was a defensive liability this season, finishing as a minus player for just the third time in his 14-year career. Knuble also was guilty of taking some costly penalties, too many for a role player who logged less 14 minutes a game.
Memorable Moment on the ice: Can anyone forget the night of April 25, when Knuble blocked a shot, raced down the ice and hammered away at his own rebound until linemate Joel Ward swooped in to score the overtime game-winner in Boston in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals? Knuble had been a healthy scratch in the first three games of that series. I was carrying that thing right to the crease and I was going to jam it in myself one way or another, Knuble said. Joel was smart. He didnt swing by the net. He stopped out front and picked up the trash. Im very happy for him.
Memorable Moment off the ice: One of the classiest players to wear a Capitals uniform, Knuble had a difficult time watching games from the press box down the stretch and into the regular season and he voiced his frustration prior to the trade deadline, saying he would accept a trade but would not request one. You want to go somewhere where youre going to play and contribute to the team, Knuble said. If you cant do it in one place, then youve got to go. Knuble was not dealt by the Capitals and acknowledged there might not have been strong interest for a 39-year-old guy with three goals.
2012-13 Expectations: Knuble says hed like to play next season but has already been told by general manager George McPhee that it wont be in Washington, something Knuble fully expected. Ideally, Knuble would like to finish his career in Detroit, where he could play in a limited role and still be close to his family in East Grand Rapids.