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Caps’ Knuble on benching: “It sucks, quite frankly”

Feb 13, 2012, 1:40 PM EDT

Mike Knuble Getty Images

It’s expected Mike Knuble will be a healthy scratch for the third straight game when the Capitals host the Sharks tonight.

No surprise, then, that the 39-year-old was rather blunt in explaining how it feels to be benched at such a key point of the season.

“It sucks, quite frankly, to be sitting out and missing games and watching your team play,” Knuble told ABC7 Washington. “It’s the best time of year to play.”

Knuble — the oldest player on Washington’s roster — seems to have run afoul of head coach Dale Hunter, who is only 12 years older than his assistant captain (the two actually played against each other in 1997-98.) Knuble said he spoke with his coach about why he was a healthy scratch the last two games with the coach replying, “You haven’t scored in a while, bad plus-minus.”

It’ll be curious to see what Washington does with Knuble as the trade deadline nears. The Toronto Sun speculated San Jose could be a good fit becuase of his history from playing in Boston with Joe Thornton, but whatever the case, it feels like Knuble will have to go before this situation becomes too big a distraction. Even though Knuble’s production has fallen through the floor, he’s a key, vocal presence on the team (remember his speech from 24/7?) and likely won’t stay quiet if he continues to be a healthy scratch.

“You never accept it, say ‘fine’ and sweep it under the rug and wake up tomorrow,” Knuble said. “You never accept it.

“When you do, as a player, then it’s over.”

  1. zachg10 - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Tough to score when you’ve been pushed to the 4th line for much of the year. His game has been taken away from him… He is a big body that has made a career in front of the net but the 4th line and then a healthy scratch? He is still too good for that.

    • jpelle82 - Feb 13, 2012 at 2:38 PM

      agreed. you cant relegate him to the 4th line and then say well he isnt scoring. brouwer missed a slam dunk that would have tied the game yesterday playing with beagle and halpern. you can watch 2 or 3 blown opportunities per game go that make you shake your head. i just cant see aucoin or beagle being activated over knuble as a good decision no matter how i look at it. you have a smart veteran who knows where to go on the ice to make things happen and you activate some young guys who tend to fly by a lot of chances

    • dcfan4life - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      You can relegate him to the fourth line and say he isnt scoring, or assisting, or playing defense. And do you know why, because he wasnt doing that for a 1/3 of the season on the first line. Wake up fellas, it was clear to anyone who watched most Caps games this season that Knuble has lost it. His time is done. And dont complain about Brouwer missing a scoring chance, cuz Knubles timing is so off he has missed them all season. He missed 3 in one game, all layups, against Tampa i think early on. This is the right move. I wish Knuble well but his time in DC is over and even fans like yourselves have to have seen that too. And if you hadnt, then you didnt watch the same games as I did…

      • govtminion - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        He didn’t play well early in the season, agreed. On the other hand, find me a Caps player that DID play up to expectations. I hate to pin it on Knuble for poor play when others like Backstrom, Ovechkin, Vokoun, etc. were just as flat.

  2. dropthepuckeh - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I’d take him on the Bruins if they can get him for a bag of pucks. Classy guy, hard worker and veteran presence – you can’t teach that. Very streaky too – could catch fire in the playoffs with the right linemates. Boston and Washington have a history of trades so guessing this is a viable option. I know the Garden would give him a warm welcome.

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