Year-End Review: Mike Knuble

Photo credit: Clydeorama

This is unfortunate alphabetical timing, as we’ve just learned that Mike Knuble will not be returning to the Capitals next year. We’re not really over that yet, and the tear-jerking farewell post from Knuble’s Knights didn’t help. Go read it, take a minute to compose yourself, and then come back here again. We’ll wait.

Ready? Okay. Let’s review Knuble’s last year in a Caps uniform.

Cap Hit for 2011-12: $2 M. Knuble will be UFA on July 1st.

Milestones: Mike Knuble played his 1,000th game in the NHL this season, and received a very fancy but impractical silver hockey stick from the organization.

Best Moment: Crashing the net for Joel Ward’s series-winning Game Seven goal, doing what he always does in the biggest possible moment.

Things We Said About Mike Knuble: “#FREEKNUBLE”

Alignment: Chaotic Good

First Irrelevant Google Images Result:

Seems about right.

Media Consensus: “Mike Knuble could potentially contribute more to the team from the ice than from the press box.”

Alternate Universe Superhero Identity: Kanoobs

Spirit Animal: Wolf.

Photo credit:

Team Role: Mike Knuble has generally played top minutes with the Capitals, but this year he was asked to take a backseat, playing on the bottom six and sitting for long stretches, and getting less ice time than at any point in his last ten seasons.

Execution of that Role: Mike Knuble persevered beautifully through all his trials and injustices this season, and for that alone we think he should be elected to hockey sainthood. Despite starting the season hot, as the season went on he seemed to be snakebitten, hitting more posts than twine. He finally snapped the curse down the stretch, starting to score more regularly near the end of the year.

Postseason Performance: In a reflection of his regular season, Knuble began the playoffs on the bench. By the fourth game of the Boston series, however, he had made it back into the lineup again, and played a pivotal role in several huge postseason moments, such as making Joel Ward’s Game Seven OT winner possible, and scoring two goals of his own. Though Knuble has historically played best with top-six talent, the gritty winger developed some real chemistry with linemates Keith Aucoin and Joel Ward.

Beard Rating:

Glorious. Nine out of ten.

Likeliness to Return: [Space reserved for prolonged crying jag.]

Usefulness in a Post-Apocalyptic Setting: Nine out of ten. We would trust Knuble with our safety in an apocalyptic wasteland any day.

Overall Year-End Rating: Twenty-two Good Sashas.

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  • still am speechless about him not coming back….

  • We’re definitely going to miss him. I wish him the best of luck.

  • ringtail

    I think 22 Good Sashas must be a record.

  • Capsfan8

    I love Knuble as much as the next person but let’s be honest here about his season. He started out looking like he’d get top 6 minutes again, but his inability to cash in on rebounds in front of the nets and firing wide on prime opportunities, combined with his slower speed is what really caused Knuble to see his role and his ice time diminish. Sure he’s a great net prescence but more often then not this season that trait which made him the 20 goal scorer of season past was not effective and he wasn’t really doing much in the way of screening the goalie. If everyone is going to judged harshly about their seasons in the end of the year reviews then so should #22

  • Ana

    Here is a good post from Peter taking a closer look at how Knuble is best used, including how his quality of linemates drastically affects his production:
    Consistent, healthy players do not just see their game fall off a cliff at 39. While Knuble certainly had his share of bad luck and low shooting percentages, I expect to see different results for 22 next season if the team that signs him uses him more intelligently than the Caps did this year.

  • A) I don’t actually believe you love Knuble as much as the next person, because the next person is me.

    B) “Let’s be honest” implies we’re not already being honest.

    C) I believe it was game 9 when Knuble dropped from top line (or top 2) to grinding, where he stayed for the rest of the season. Up to that point he had 6 points. Respectable. The change in deployment came before the change in his output. That’s not up for debate; but causation is up for debate.

    D) Ana’s link to my post in February explains why I think 22 dropped off.

    E) Can’t screen the goalie when you’re 80 feet from him, grinding in your own zone with linemates who don’t drive possession and defenders who are struggling to breakout under a new system.

    F) Boo ya. Thanks for writing.

  • I’m trying to figure out how you’re justifying a picture of Wolverine as being unrelated to Knuble though. I thought it was a self portrait of him until I reread.

  • Ana

    Almost scrolled right past it. “Oh look, another picture of Knuble…”

  • serpent

    Thank you, Peter!

  • serpent

    Every one of them well earned,too!

  • Has anybody else gotten a 10/10 for their beards? Awesome Amazing Alzner got an 11, but I don’t think i saw any tens….

  • Capsfan8

    Oh ya, totally convinced you are capable of taking an unbiased look at his play this year. You sure showed me… “boo ya” ? I didn’t realize children were posting on this site now. Get over yourself and get over Knuble he had a remarkable 2years providing grit, veteran stability and an awesome work ethic and an all around great attitude towards fans BUT he still had a horrible final year last season and it wasn’t management or the coaches fault.

  • Peter

    You do see how you didn’t develop or defend your point, right? You just said it again as if that were evidence of its trueness. It’s not.

  • PuckBuddyDoug

    Although…shouldn’t his spirit animal be a wolverine?

  • Goaliemama