Fresh off his tone-setting performance in Game 2 Monday night, in which he scored the first goal of the game just 8 minutes into the first period to give his team the early lead, Capitals’ veteran Right Winger Mike Knuble spoke to Holden and Danny, Wednesday.
After some light joshing around about looking slow on the ice, until of course, he had to race after a puck to prevent what would have been a crucial icing call, the guys got in some serious questions for Knuble. Holden asked if he’d look back on a season riddled with controversy, select one moment and say, ‘Wow, that was a low point.’
“It was an interesting year, to say the least. It didn’t go the way I would have preferred, but at the same time, its’ a new season now, and I’m very much living in the present, than even talking about the past.”
A trend that’s starting to become more and more noticeable to the average fan is the growing friction between face-of-the-franchise Alex Ovechkin and 1st-year head coach, Dale Hunter. Upon request, Knuble, who’d as recently as last night said the two are going to have to deal with that in the summertime, specified what he meant by the comment:
“If somebody’s uncomfortable with what’s going on, then now is not the time to talk about it and hash it out and have all these meetings. If they’ve got some issues, and if they’re not seeing eye to eye on ice time, then they can take care of it later on.”
Ovechkin, an offensive-minded player, has not taken well to the new defensive-oriented style of play that Dale Hunter has brought to the franchise, nor does he appreciate having his freshness preserved on the bench, as he’s starting to raise a fuss. Alex just 13.5 minutes on the ice in Game 2 Monday, down from the 21 minutes he played in Game 1.
Danny then inquired about the surprise chemistry on the ice between Knuble and his 4th linemen, Keith Aucoin and Joel Ward, and what has sparked that fire. Mike pins their excelling performance on good match-ups, out-hustling their opponents, and understanding their roles. “We’ve played well defensively. I think that’s our responsibility first and foremost, is to not be a hindrance to what’s going on with our team and the direction the game’s going,” Knuble added.
Finally, the 39-year-old veteran was asked about what this run has meant to him in his career.
“As a veteran player, you realize you don’t get chances all the time. You stop worrying about your own personal things, and more relish in the team’s success. At the beginning of the season, expectations were huge and then they went away on our up and down year, and now we’ve kind of come in under that radar and all of a sudden we’re back on the map.”