“Kanooblian” by Mark Burrier. See Rare Words for more of Mark’s art.
Mike Knuble will play his 1000th NHL game on Tuesday night. And I get to write the pregamer! Woohoo!
There’s a team. They’re from Nashville. That’s where Steve Earle got busted for dope the first 40 times, and it’s where my girlfriend Hayley Williams lives right now. The Predators are 17-11-4. Their new guitar pick logo is awesome. They beat the Caps 3-1 last month, and their home jerseys harshed my rods and cones. Faith Hill hates Carrie Underwood. The Preds are just barely inside the playoff picture right now. D-man Shea Weber is insanely good (24 points, plus-15) and will get even better. But enough about them, let’s talk Kanooble!
- Mike was born on the fourth of July in the American territory of Toronto, Ontario.
- Mike Knuble has played for 5 NHL teams, of which only 4 suck vociferously.
- Mike’s surname is pronounced ki-noo-bəl and it translates roughly as “Sorry, penguin.”
- Mike has scored 271 goals from a cumulative shot distance of 169 feet.
- Mike has averaged over 15 minutes a game since 2002, when he was grinding in Boston.
- Mike won the Cup with Detroit in ’97 with Yzerman, Shanahan, and all those Russian dudes.
- Mike has scored 31 goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins in just 60 some games.
- Mike is in the midst of one of his worst seasons since… well… Y2k. He’s rocking a minus-7 right now.
- Mike dishes awesome quotes when the team is struggling: “We look all like a bunch of clowns when we don’t [commit].”
- Mike Knuble plays hockey on the fourth line of the Washington Capitals.
Your boy Mike Vogel tells me that Knuble will be just the 267th NHL dude to have played in 1000 games. (By the way, you really need to read Vogel’s article on Knuble. Go ahead; I’ll wait.) He’s been dressing for games since 1997, when people were actually listening to ska music. He didn’t find his stride until his 30s, but he’s been producing consistently since then. He’s been with the Capitals since 2009, when he looked at first glance like a poor substitute for Viktor Kozlov until we realized how stupid that was. That season– at the age of 37– Knuble put up 29 goals, mostly while working with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom.
Mike Knuble celebrates with linemates Backstrom and Oveckin after scoring in the Winter Classic.
Two seasons later, almost halfway into a one-year, $2 million contract, Mike Knuble is a fourth liner. Since November 23, Knuble has broken the 15-minute threshold just once– against his arch-nemeses in Penguins uniforms. It’s not surprising his output has stalled given that he’s missing 5 or 6 shifts per game and isn’t sharing the ice with a guy who used to be the most creative player in the league. He’s doing well in his grinder role, going only minus-3 in that period.
We’ve been unhappy about how Knuble has been used under late-era Boudreau and Dale Hunter. We’re not alone. Mike Knuble is capable not just of great things, but of the very things the Capitals need right now: particularly, grit. Mike Knuble scoars goals like Waffle House hash browns; greasy. He scores at the end of cycles, he works hard in corners, he funnels the puck to the net with deliberation.
Shouldn’t he be one of Hunter’s favorites? Shouldn’t he be getting more ice time?
I believe that Knuble has great hockey ahead of him. He’s at 999 games right now. There are 51 left in this season. There’s a postseason looming after that. I’d like to see him in Caps red for another 82. It’s his sunset; let him ride off in his own damn way.
Usually I’d close with “crash the net”, which is awfully kanooblian. But instead I’m gonna quote the man himself:
“This is no farewell song.”