Monday, March 28, 2011

Mike Knuble

My first comments about Mike Knuble when he became a Cap back in July 2009 were about how much happier I would be to see him in a Caps uniform instead of a Philadelphia Flyer uniform.  I still believe that and enjoyed watching the 38-year-old forward wrap up his 8th consecutive twenty goal season against his former teammates.   It's how he gets his goals that makes Knuble so wonderful to watch.  He's the quintessential net crashing, garbage goal getting forward.  And, that's such an important role for any team with Stanley Cup aspirations.  He's also a leader for the Capitals.

So, how has Knuble done in his almost two full seasons with the Caps?  He's a slow starter offensively.  But, this year, he started out looking slow in scoring and skating.  It didn't help that everyone struggled on the top line of Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Knuble. Knuble's production struggled along with that line.  In his first season with the Caps, it took Knuble 32 games to score his first 10 goals (.3125 GPG).  This year, it took Knuble 40 games to score his first 10 goals on January 11th against Florida (.25 GPG).  But, then, all of a sudden, he'll turn it on and he's turned it on this season.

His overtime game winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 13th netted him the first star of the game that night.  That was an important win for the Caps against the defending Stanley Cup champions.  A second star performance against the New Jersey Devils on March 18th ended with Knuble being 2-1-3, +3 for the night.  His 20th goal against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 22nd was part of a 1-2-3, +2 night for Knuble. In that span of five games, he potted 5 goals and had 3 assists. I like it.

Knuble's playoff stats as a Cap in 7 games against the Montreal Canadiens were 2-4-6.  Almost a point a game. Not bad for a then almost 38-year-old.  I'd like to see him back for one more year.

After blanking the Canadiens with a 2-0 shutout performance by Braden Holtby (he's impressive), the Caps are home finally for a game against the Carolina Panthers tomorrow.

Let's go Caps!

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