Barry Trotz loves slogans and inspirational phrases. The locker room at Verizon Center is filled with them, including some that take up five lines. Last year’s team motto of “Feed the Right Wolf” didn’t quite get the Capitals pumped up enough to win a Stanley Cup. Refreshingly, though, Trotz didn’t seek massive changes after that loss. He knows the Capitals are a good team that could win a championship. That’s why this year’s slogan is “Stick to the Script,” a brainchild of Caps video coach Brett Leonhardt.
“For us to come in this year and say, ‘Okay, it didn’t work last year, we didn’t win the Stanley Cup, so let’s go in a different path,’ that’s absolutely the wrong thing,” Trotz told The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg. “I can see the horizon. I know where I’m going. And because I see the horizon and I didn’t get there last year, I’m going to turn left?”
To drill the idea into the players, Trotz had them watch a short video written by Leonhardt and narrated by former Capital Mike Knuble. On Saturday night before the season opener at Verizon Center, that video was revealed to roaring fans.
Screenshot *gasp* of the Caps Snapchat via @Shorty_Spice
Former Washington Capitals first-line winger and forever hockey god Mike Knuble stopped by Joe Louis Arena today to visit with the Caps ahead of their game Friday night against the Red Wings. Usually, this is where I would make some kind of witty comment, but I have nothing to add other than YEY KANOOBS IS BACK! Knuble played just three seasons with the Caps (and, ew, he used to be a Flyer), but he left an indelible mark on this community. He’s a consummate professional, always great in a press scrum. After last night, the presence of a guy like Knuble might be exactly what this team needs.
I’m guessing there’ll be more about Knuble’s visit from the Caps or the beat writers. We’ll update this post when there is.
Knuble in the Sasha Box.
On Saturday, if you were lucky enough to catch the Carolina Hurricanes game against the Philadelphia Flyers, you got to see two former Washington Capitals players compete against each other: Alex Semin and Mike Knuble.
During the second period, both players were on the ice, and whattaya know: Semin drew a penalty on Knuble. After some work in the corners by Semin, Knuble put his stick under Semin’s hands, and Semin dropped to the ice as if an imaginary piano had fallen on top of him.
Video below the jump.
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.
Photo credit: Jim McIsaac
Thursday night, Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced that star winger Scott Hartnell would be out four to eight weeks with a broken foot. Needing an extra forward, the Flyers signed Capitals fan favorite Mike Knuble to a one-year deal. This news comes as a bitter pill to Caps fans who want the best for the veteran winger, but miss his leadership. At least it’s not the Pens.
Corey Masisak remembers a pivotal Knuble story below the fold.
[Editor’s note: When Mike Knuble was let go by the Capitals over the offseason, Knuble’s Knights were temporarily without a player to worship. After some careful thought, they re-formed as a fan club dedicated to power forward Troy Brouwer and dubbed themselves the Brouwer Rangers. Nathan Burchfiel, the group’s fearless leader, is now here to reveal the group’s new spandex’d uniform and signs for the Caps home opener. The floor is all yours, Nathan.]
After the Caps lost their season opener to the Tampa Bay Lighting on Saturday, many Caps fans were weeping and gnashing their teeth about this Schultz or that Ovechkin. We, on the other hand, were busy experiencing something of an existential crisis.
As we struggled to squeeze into lycra suits and freshly painted motorcycle helmets during our first and only Brouwer Rangers “dress rehearsal,” the existential question wasn’t, Who are we and what are we doing with our lives? It was more, How are we going to pull this off without being arrested for indecent exposure?
As you may know, for the past three years, we’ve attended Caps games decked in plastic armor, shields and swords, and armed with an array mildly controversial but mostly silly signs in support of fan-favorite Mike Knuble. With Knuble’s departure – and at his encouragement – we knew we had to continue the tradition with a new victim muse player to cheer for.
There’s plenty floating around about why we picked Brouwer (and why we do this at all in the first place) so we won’t rehash it here. With the lockout still fresh in our minds, who really wants to dwell in the past anyway? Instead, the fine folks at RMNB asked us to provide a preview of what’s in store for the Brouwer Rangers during this shortened season. Our existential crisis has become, Can this possibly live up to the antics and adventures of Knuble’s Knights?
[Editor’s note: After the Washington Capitals extended Troy Brouwer’s contract for another three years on Wednesday, Nathan Burchfiel, fearless leader of Knuble Knight’s, had his own announcement to make. The floor is all yours, Nathan.]
When the 2011-2012 NHL season ended, the questions about the future were only just beginning. The zeitgeist was buzzing about whether there would even be a 2012-2013 season, but moreso about what would become of Knuble’s Knights, that magnificent armor-clad duo who won the hearts of many a Caps fan with their often strange and occasionally ill-advised antics in support of their one true liege. Could the Knights continue on with their fearless leader in limbo? Would they carry their swords into battle for another worthy team member? Would they fade into the masses of normal Caps fans? Would they finally get upgraded to full season tickets? (YES!)
Photo illustration by Ian Oland.
Guess what tomorrow is? That’s right! Canada Day!
It also happens to be NHL Free Agency, the wildest and kookiest hockey day of the year. The Capitals aren’t expected to make any world-shaking moves this year, but you never know. The spirit of capitalism can possess even the most level-headed of GMs and make them act like crazy people, so stay tuned here tomorrow while we update you on what’s going down. The Caps have a few holes to fill, a few free agents who will find new homes — and who knows, maybe McPhee will trade Backstrom for Jeff Skinner or something, and we’ll all have to drink ourselves into oblivion.
Anything is possible! But luckily, not everything is likely, so follow us below the jump for your Guide to Free Agency 2012.
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