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Things are still really awkward in Washington

Feb 28, 2012, 1:10 PM EDT

Mike Knuble Getty Images

After seeing the Washington Capitals play it cool at the dealine and not find new homes for veterans Mike Knuble and Roman Hamrlik, the day after is proving to be as awkward as the morning after drunken hook-up.

Following the team’s morning skate, coach Dale Hunter revealed that Knuble, Hamrlik, and John Erskine would all be healthy scratches for tonight’s game against the Islanders.

As Chuck Gormley of found out, it’s something Knuble isn’t all that excited about.

When they retreated to the locker room, Knuble and Hamrlik declined to talk to reporters.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Knuble said to a cameraman.

At least before the deadline Knuble had the hope he might be exiled from Washington in favor of a team that could use his services. Now at 39-years-old and winding down his career, it’s shaping up to be a potentially frustrating final season for the veteran power forward as it appears that Hunter will keep on going without Knuble in his starting lineup.

  1. sportsfreak13 - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Wonder if knuble thinks their a backstrom away from being contenders. Do caps fans like hunter as their coach? Just curious because boudreau is having success in anaheim and as much as I don’t like the guy, letting him walk might of been the wrong move.

    • dagnats - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      i personally think they needed to change coaches (players werent responding/respecting Bruce) but they made the wrong decision bringing Hunter in…brought him in for the wrong reasons…(nostalgia)…im ok with him sitting Hamrlik, but dont like having Knuble sit out this long…

      • sportsfreak13 - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        aside from chimera and maybe hendricks, he appears to have the most heart and guts on this team. That should count for somthing

      • ravenscaps48 - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        Couldn’t agree with this more!

      • govtminion - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        It’s possible (just a guess) that Hunter was a stopgap, and McPhee’s plan is to explore other options in the offseason when other teams can their coaches- see who’s available to hire. If that’s the case, Hunter makes some sense. If not, then he hopefully has seen enough of Hunter’s treatment of veteran players and his lackluster offensive schemes to give thought to dropping him anyway.

    • bmoreredfury311 - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      Well their definitely not a Backstrom away from being contenders and everyone knows that.. Missing Backstrom’s hockey I.Q. and passing skills, is really hurting us, specially on the power play. Which realistically has been bad since the 2010 playoff’s against halak’s habs.That’s where the team as a whole needs to step up and fill his skates..
      The thing about Hunter replacing Bruce is a tough one, as dagnats said “the players weren’t responding/respecting him”, and it seems now they’ve got the same exact problem. I personally thought with Hunter and his rep, that their would be more of a piss and vinegar style of play and more emotion. Bruce showed a lot emotion, some might argue a little too much, but i like that. I think the players respond to it, if they know then and now that the couch isn’t happy with their play, then they can change it in game. On paper right now Bruce was a better couch and is a better couch as you can see. Anywhere he couches he does a great job and landed right back on his stubby feet. I have a lot of respect for the guy and i know he will win a cup somewhere. Truly only time will tell who is the right fit for the caps.
      One last thing, I’m tired of all the drama with Knubs and Hammie. Feeling like their entitled to playing time just because they are veterans. Our D has been horrific all season with turn overs at the blue and getting out of our zone and Hammie’s are biggest contributor’s to that, along with others.. Knubs simply hasn’t produced and we all know it. He is a great player but his plus/minus this season, is terrible and that is the mean reason his not playing. I say you give him a couple more games try to prove himself, but until then he needs to suck it up and keep supporting your teammates and the franchise that’s paying him. GO CAPS

      • bmoreredfury311 - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:11 PM

        “They’re professionals. It’s like Schultzie. He was scratched how many games? Twelve in a row? Now what is he doing?”

        Schultz was scratched 18 of 20 games from Dec. 9 through Jan. 31 and has played in 10 of the last 11 games.

  2. dcfan4life - Feb 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    McPhee did an amazing job building this team from the ground up. That said i think his job is on the line here. Not trading away potential distractions, a coach benching players for bad penalties when he was well known for that, benching one of the only real veteran leader the team has in Knuble (though his play has been poor this season), and firing a coach who started amazingly hot, then had a bad spell, instead of in the offseason or after this season. I just dont agree with these decisions and i think it is going to cost us. Worst case scenario, Caps fail to make the playoffs, every free agent leaves with nothing coming back in return and we replace the coach and completely rebuild, again. A situation like that should cost a GM his job, even a good one like McPhee, and we may be heading down that road…

    • ikillchicken - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      “a coach benching players for bad penalties when he was well known for that”

      I’m sorry but this is the stupidest thing I’ve heard in ages. Why on earth should Hunter’s tendencies as a player have any bearing on his coaching decisions? This attitude just makes zero sense to me. Yeah, maybe Hunter took bad penalties too. Does that make it somehow okay? To me, this is nothing but a really spiteful and transparent way of deflecting criticism that is just wildly counterproductive.

      • dcfan4life - Feb 29, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        I think you had missed the article on Hamerlik upset as to the excuse for why he was benched. He made it clear it was hard for him to accept that reasoning for his benching when Dale Hunter made a career of it. And if your coach was someone like Hunter, as a player, can you respect him when he makes such decisions. Considering the way the Caps have played under Dale maybe thats a very important question.

  3. hawknuts - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Ted leonsis is not a good owner, he will give his teams just enough rope to hang themselves and then tell the fans how great he is because he asks them how he could improve the game day experience.

    how about hiring a coach who isn’t a head case. hunter could yell at all the kids he wanted to in london because they are still basically children and do not have millions of dollars in the bank and no need to listen to his sh*t. he is not mentally strong enough to coach men and deal with them in a respectful and honorable fashion, because he himself is lacking those moral fibers.

    McPhee has had his day in the sun, he needed to sell the farm yesterday and restart. now he is just going to have to start that process in the summer behind the 8 ball because he is losing assets for nothing.

    Caps fans have suffered long enough, really were the good years ovechkin put up as a young pup more than a tease now? in hindsight it looks that way. he is your franchise appease his needs or ship him out to restart (would never get value back for him i.e. 25c/1$)

    I just hope you guys aren’t wizards fans too because once again 1 good player (wall vs ovechkin) is stuck with middling talents and obtuse management. Leonsis needs to pull his head out of the sand and get the right people in there or this will not stop in either league. At least you only need 7 competent people to floor a good basketball team.

  4. rsl22 - Feb 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    This is a professional league, one in which winning and performing mean everything.

    Knuble has 3 goals and a -16 rating, -7 worse than the next lowest player on the team. He looks old, he’s slow, and he’s not performing.

    Hamrlik has 2 goals, 10 points. For a defender that’s not awful, but he looks like he’s skating in sand as well.

    Both are good leaders, but that doesn’t put goals in the net, nor does it keep them out. For what it’s worth, I’d prefer to have Hamrlik in there than Schultz, but neither are any good.

    • brianforster - Feb 28, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      THANK YOU! everyone on this site seems to love knuble, but the reality is, he was old last year, he was just lucky too. Now he is not getting any of the bounces and as such, does not deserve a sweater. Hamrlik has been terrible as well, its no surprise that they weren’t traded because who would want them? If you are awful, you probably want to give younger guys some minutes, if you are a contender, well, you probably don’t need any of the Caps discards.

  5. claysbar - Feb 28, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    It’s actually amazing, givin the talent the Bears have that the caps sign so many free agents. They are starting to remind me of any NYR team. Throw money at the problem and win a Cup.

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