“Kanooblian” illustration by Mark Burrier

Mike Knuble scored 65 goals in three seasons for the Washington Capitals. For a big chunk of that time, Knuble was an integral part of DC’s dynamic top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom. But in 2011-12 Knuble’s ice time was cut drastically and he was relegated to grinding on the fourth line. Knuble still excelled in the postseason, but some considered him over the hill (erroneously methinks). If Knuble had retired then, it would have been a disappointing end to a great career, but he persevered– moving to Michigan, training with the Red Wings, and finally signing with the Hartnell-down Philadelphia Flyers.

On Friday night, Knuble returns to Verizon Center, but he’ll be crashing the wrong net.

Since we started RMNB, Mike Knuble has been my favorite player to write about. I like the way he plays: hard-nosed and honest. I like the way he talks about the game: direct and free of cliché. I like how he gets better in the springtime. The only reason we started shouting “Crash the net!” is because we want every player to be like Mike.  I bet I’m not alone in thinking that way.

And now he’s wearing pylon orange. Flerm.

It’s like running to your ex. You were kind of a crummy boyfriend at the end there, and now it’s over. A few months later you bump into her in Chinatown, and she looks great and happy, and now you’re filled with Heavy Thoughts: What could you have done differently? Was she The One? What does Philadelphia have that you don’t have?

Okay, let’s talk about whooping. It’s a practice reserved for only the dearest ex-Caps. Guys like Witt and Gonchar, defenders who made their names in Washington before moving on. Whenever one of those guys touches the puck, the Verizon Center is supposed to whoop as a sign of both respect and irreverence (or something, I dunno).

I propose that Mike Knuble deserves that recognition on Friday night. Let’s whoop his ass. Err.

The legalists among you will say Mike is not eligible for whooping. I’ll defer to the wisdom of crowds on this, but Kanoobs deserve some kind of props tonight If not whooping, how about a standing ovation? At some  point, Knuble’s big ass (as Elliot often put it) is going to be up on the jumbotron, and we should use that opportunity to let him know how we feel.

And then let’s watch our boys follow his example and crash the damn net.

To commemorate the night, Ian has made this lovely sign for Kanoobs. If you’re going to the game tonight, make a stop at Kinko’s beforehand and print this bad boy out.

Knuble Sign

Crash the net.*

(* Not you, Mike)

UPDATE: I have neglected to credit the Brouwer Rangers (née Knuble’s Knights). The knuuuuuuuuuble sign was their idea. My bust.

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  • Ben

    Whooping is not a sign of respect. People ‘whoop’ Witt because he wanted out of town, they ‘whoop’ Gonchar because he signed with Pitt. Knuble was forced out of town, he didn’t want to leave. Standing O for sure, but if you whoop, you’re dumb.

  • Clare

    I’m way too emotional for 10:30 in the morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=692356341 Matt Mendelsohn

    He deserves a lot more than whooping. Was a class act, a great player and still the best net crasher around. Deserved a much better send-off than he got. We’ll be there wearing #22 tonight! Thanks for the sign–my daughter will wave it proudly!

  • erick

    The whooping started a long time ago because of defenseman, which Knuble is not. Wouldn’t make sense and I may boo the people who actually do it.

  • HMA8

    Please no whooping. It’s not a sign of respect, JOE CORVO gets it.

  • Sillyduck8

    I made a sign for tonight. “Hate the jersey, love the guy. We miss you Mike! ”

  • Brandie

    This is great! I loved when that trio was together. This was the most upsetting change for me and I will be wearing my Knuble jersey tonight.

  • Manda

    I wish I was going! But if I were, In addition to the standing “O”, I’d go to Flyers side for warm ups, bring your sign and pound on the glass every time he swarmed by. I Luuuuuuuurve Knuuuuuuuuuble!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I see your point, but you still whoop because you care. You only hate the departed player because he mattered to you.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Right on, Matt! Share pics.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Like I said: Legalist!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Joe Corvo or Joe SCOARvo?

  • Jen

    No whoops. Big applause. (I tend to think that whooping is appropriate for guys who left with scorn for this city and/or team, not guys who became free agents and never had a bad word to say about DC.)

  • Taz

    Whopping has always been done as a sign of derision and disrespect for ex-players who expressed dislike or disrespect for the team or DC. In all my time waching hockey I have never heard it being used as a sign of strong POSITIVE affection. My first experience was with Larry Murphy (how we hated him! actually, still do), then of course Gonchar, and Witt. Case in point: whenever Scott Stevens came to town, nobody whooped him! To me, whooping Knuble would not be appropriate, and I hope his mug does appear on the jumbotron so I can yell myself hoarse in appreciation and sorrow that he’s no longer rocking the red.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    No bust whatsoever, Ian. No credit belongs to us specifically. Knuble’s Knights belong to all Caps fans, or some hippie dippie thing like that.

  • NovaCath

    I like Knuble and he does not deserve to be “whooped.’ That is not a sign of respect or caring. It is derision. The only current former Caps who deserves whoops. boos, and derision is Jagr.

  • sean

    If Nubs scores the GWG I don’t think GMGM will be riding the red line home.