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Posted at 1:04 PM ET, 12/23/2010

Caps teammates: Mike Knuble has the respect of the room

By Katie Carrera

247episode21210g.jpg (Photo via D.C. Sports Bog)

During the Capitals' eight-game losing streak, some fans and media types raised questions about the leadership in the Washington dressing room and organization. In the second episode of HBO's "24/7" part of the team's leadership was on significant display when producers included the clip of Mike Knuble's speech in the visiting locker room at TD Garden in Boston between the first and second period against the Bruins.

"Today, it's 3-0 and it will not [censored] be one of these laughers again," Knuble said. "It will not [censored] turn into a 5-0, 7-0 [censored] laugher. Where they're [censored] giggling getting out of their [censored] mess here. We are [censored] down 3-0 and we are going to come back and we're gonna [censored] win this thing. We're not [censored] going in the thank. That is enough right there. That's [censored] more than a year's worth. It's not going to happen again."

That segment that was included in the show, players said, was just part of what Knuble demanded of the Capitals during that intermission. Knuble, the oldest player on the roster at 38, is always talkative and makes his opinion known but when he picks and chooses the occasion to call his teammates to action the rest of the Capitals listen.

"Mike's always got a great presence in the locker room, and there have been a couple times -- meaningful times -- where he's stepped up in the middle of the locker room and challenged our team," Brooks Laich said. "We have a lot of respect for that guy. He's won more than any of us in here have won. He's a veteran guy who's been around a long time; when he speaks, everybody listens."

While the right wing's production hasn't been at the same pace he's accustomed to over the past few years in his career (15 points, 7 goals in 33 games), Knuble has had more success as of late with seven points in the past 11 games. But it's not necessarily his point production that garners respect from his teammates.

It's more the age and experience -- Knuble's 922 NHL regular-season games is far and away the most played by any member of the Capitals -- and the way he comes to the rink and does his job even if, say, his jaw is broken or he's struggling to score.

"I think that he's the most well-respected guy in the room. I feel like our team rallies around him," rookie defenseman John Carlson said. "He works just as hard as anyone, he's been playing with a broken jaw for a couple weeks now and he never really uses that or anything as an excuse and just keeps going forward. I really, really respect him."

Carlson said he looks up to Knuble and tries to learn as much as he can from him. It also turns out that Knuble's oldest son, Cameron, wears Carlson's number 74.

"He's been great to me," Carlson said. "I think as a whole, he's here and he's mentoring everyone. Even our best players aren't old yet. They still have a lot to learn too, from a guy like him that's been around forever and has that perspective."

By Katie Carrera  | December 23, 2010; 1:04 PM ET
Categories:  John Carlson, Mike Knuble  
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Next: Gearing up for Caps vs. Pens, Part I

Comments

Take the "C" and the pressure away from Novechkin...

He has never been a good leader. Just an incredibly skilled hockey player/showman.

Give it to Knuble.

Oh BTW, while we are on it...stop giving Backstrom and Chimera the "A"...those guys are not leaders either. Backstrom is a quiet skilled player, Chimera is a passenger...with occasional speed.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | December 23, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

uhm no...Ovie is the Captain, deal with it. He wears it well, and Knuble is def the perfect vet presecence we need. stick tap to them both.

Posted by: capsfan387 | December 23, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Suggestion:

C - Knuble
A - Laich
A - Bradley

I know that your supposed to give the C to the best player on the team but Ovi isnt a vocal leader. We needed a player to get into the ears of our team. Not just the coach.

Posted by: kickass10101 | December 23, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I love how folks can watch a little TV and read a few things and just know what's going on in the locker room, and on the ice/bench. You don't.

Posted by: Justafan | December 23, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

it would have been better to have been:
C-Laich
A-Ovechkin
A-a rotation of players

flame away I'm sure, but Laich is better suited to a captains role than Ovechkin is, just my personal opinion.

Posted by: FrankM73 | December 23, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The problem with giving Knuble the C is that he is gone at the end of the season and even if he is resigned he will only be around for one more year max. Then your back in a spot of do we give it back to Ovechkin again. If we can get Laich resigned then he might be a good choice.

I also think many here are overrating the importance of the C and A's to the other players on the team. Having played almost my whole life I know that often the Captain is not the one talking in the locker room just like it was Knuble for the Caps last week.

Posted by: icehammer97 | December 23, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Maybe OVie is not the best at being a vocal leader. Maybe Brooks or Knuble could be a better captain, but I don't think that stripping Ovie of the "C" would build on team chemistry. You don't have to have a "C" on your jersey to have the respect from the other players.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | December 23, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Also, the team - including Laich - unanimously chose Ovechkin as the Captain. I don't think that's changed, and really, it's none of our business anyway!

Posted by: irockthered | December 23, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

IIRC the '35 gam'e was in reference to saying crosby is the best for the year - 35 games does not make a season. the way he is trending now - there will be no contest - he's the best.
in the context of how the caps are trending as far as going to the crease - then yes - one could expect them to do so again after a couple of games

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Right on point. Well said.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 23, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

As a Caps fan, this show has been an amazing gift. Glad our guys are part of it, and I even enjoy the Pittsburgh segments. The Crosby/Malkin dispute as to who would be the last on the ice was pretty cool.

The Knuble rant was great to see. Captain or not, they should all follow his lead. You can see how frustrated OV is with his own game, so at other times he may be more vocal. It's hard to say really. But that fight at MSG proved to me that OV has every right to wear that C.

I would like to see us bring in some other locker room guys to help push these guys over the top. If that means it's another wing, so be it. If you look at the teams that will be sellers, there are a few really good rentals. Not guys that would break the bank either. Depth guys.

Posted by: underpants2 | December 23, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

As a Caps fan, this show has been an amazing gift. Glad our guys are part of it, and I even enjoy the Pittsburgh segments. The Crosby/Malkin dispute as to who would be the last on the ice was pretty cool.

The Knuble rant was great to see. Captain or not, they should all follow his lead. You can see how frustrated OV is with his own game, so at other times he may be more vocal. It's hard to say really. But that fight at MSG proved to me that OV has every right to wear that C.

I would like to see us bring in some other locker room guys to help push these guys over the top. If that means it's another wing, so be it. If you look at the teams that will be sellers, there are a few really good rentals. Not guys that would break the bank either. Depth guys.

Posted by: underpants2

I agree with all of this.

I know he doesn't fit the teams need of a 2nd line center, but how about Langenbrunner. I guess he doesn't like Lemaire much and might like to get traded(he is a pending UFA too, although he has no trade clause).

He could be a good veteran leader(although I have no idea what his personality is) as a 2nd or 3rd line winger.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 23, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I apologize if someone has already mentioned this because I haven't read the thread. As a prelude to tonight's game NHL Network is showing Game 2 of the 2008-09 series between the Pens and Caps. The 2nd period just started. This is the game where Ovi and Sid got hat tricks.

Posted by: fanohock1 | December 23, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Langenbrunner could be had, and I think he would be a great addition. Cup experience, Olympic experince.

Posted by: underpants2 | December 23, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

We're really still talking about OV not deserving to be Captain? Unreal. Embarrassing really.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 23, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Off to pre-game...well eat first, then bar up at 4. I am hoping for many sulking faces wearing Crosby jerseys tonight. CAPS CAPS CAPS

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | December 23, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

capsfan387: Get a life... seriuosly... get a life.

A young man in the glaring spotlight, not having the greatest of seasons, playing a major rival in less that 12 hours and you're peeved because he won't stop and recognize you/do your bidding. Really?

Get a life... because you can't have OV's

Posted by: Dave_in_Alexandria | December 23, 2010 10:25 AM |


@Dave: Priceless...and very accurate. Especially that last line:

What would you, or I, or capsfan387, or any of us do in Ovi's situation? We can talk all we want about how we'd behave differently, but we can't be sure until/unless we've been there.

Granted, Ovie may be more reticent about interacting with fans during a bad stretch than, say, Brooksie Of The Tire Change, But in all fairness, Laich has--I think--has been around the league longer and is perhaps somewhat more mature in his dealings with the public. Not taking anything away from The Red Jesus, you understand...I still love the guy like a favorite nephew.

Bottom line: Everybody--even Ovechkin--needs some occasional "private time"; just because a person might be better-known than the rest of us doesn't mean he/she should have to "hunker in a bunker" to get it.

Ted pays Ovie to play hockey, and I think it's reasonably safe to conclude that--other than the usual standard NHL injunctions against abusing officials, assaulting taxicab drivers, gambling on games, doing illegal drugs, participating in human sacrifice, worshiping Ε atan, etc.--#8's contract has relatively little (if anything) to say about how he lives his off-ice life.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 23, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many of you would have wanted Cal Ripken stripped of his captaincy while the O's sucked. Yeah, don't need guys like Cal, he only leads by example but man if he ever spoke up in a locker room I'd love him to be captain. Embarrassing.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 23, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the Devils have fired their coach and are bringing in Jacques Lemaire to coach them again.

Posted by: MReilly9 | December 23, 2010 10:29 AM


Interesting. That should really stick in the craw of that faction of the "Fire BB" Party who advocated replacing him with MacLean.

Get a grip folks: Great players don't always make great coaches. Even Gretzky had to learn this the hard way.

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

i> And this time I just feel a solid Caps victory.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | December 23, 2010 10:48 AM


@SAOTI:

From your mouth to God(esse)'s Ears, let it be so!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 23, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I love how folks can watch a little TV and read a few things and just know what's going on in the locker room, and on the ice/bench. You don't.

Posted by: Justafan | December 23, 2010 1:35 PM

To paraphrase Rod Serling: There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the dimension of the Washington fans, where imagination lives and its limits are only those of the mind itself.

Posted by: hock1 | December 23, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the dimension of the Washington fans, where imagination lives and its limits are only those of the mind itself.


Posted by: hock1 | December 23, 2010 3:20 PM

some would appear to be more limited than others

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@ vermont
@kickass
@frankm73

Laich doesn't deserve to be captain either. Didn't show against the Habs, that's why he couldn't sleep at night. I still don't see him playing "angry".

The only 2 guys really busten' their tales on this team are Erskine and Hendricks. Give John the "C". (That's for you vermont.)

Chimy is an embarrassing "A". Ship him out for REAL GRIT.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 23, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@BiggameDaveParker

Are you ready to do your penance, or are you stock piling batteries?

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | December 23, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Women are held to such a different standard :)

Posted by: capscoach | December 23, 2010 10:50 AM


@capscoach:

Sad but true, milady.

FTR, I love my wife dearly and would be pretty much useless without her. Although she doesn't "get" Capsmania (or hockey in general) quite the way I do just yet, she is making strides forward.


Anyway, in the spirit of the holiday season, I just wanted to tell you that any guy--and especially any guy who is a Caps fan--should consider himself lucky to have your companionship.


Let's hope Santa brings us what we both want for Christmas: A CAPS VICTORY TONIGHT!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 23, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Ovi should be demoted from his C. He is to immature and young to be a true leader. Laich would have been a better C as well as Knuble.
I just hope the top line doesn't play cutesy tonight and try and make the perfect pass and not shoot first and crash the net like the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines have been doing the last 3 or 4 games.
Especially Semin needs to get more physical and stop pussy footing around. He drags on the first line. If anybody needs to be sat down in the press box, he does for a game or too until he gets some fire under his skin and plays like it.

Posted by: JMinVA | December 23, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

i> And this time I just feel a solid Caps victory.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | December 23, 2010 10:48 AM


@SAOTI:

From your mouth to God(esse)'s Ears, let it be so!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 23, 2010 3:16 PM

====================================

"So let it be written. So let it be done."

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 23, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Actually in town for a game tonight. Does anyone happen to know the application that can be downloaded to Verizon cell phones that will show you replays of goals at different angles when you're inside the Verizon Center?

Posted by: pittshater | December 23, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

imagination lives and its limits are only those of the mind itself.


Posted by: hock1 | December 23, 2010 3:20 PM

some would appear to be more limited than others

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2010 3:30 PM |

Imagination: The formation of a mental image of something that is neither perceived as real nor present to the senses.

Creative people use it to express their ideas knowing full well they are not real, insane people use it to make their own lala land and become full participant of that extrange world.

So what might appear limited to some, it might just be a sign of sanity.

Posted by: hock1 | December 23, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

imagination lives and its limits are only those of the mind itself.


Posted by: hock1 | December 23, 2010 3:20 PM

some would appear to be more limited than others


Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | December 23, 2010 3:30 PM |

Imagination: The formation of a mental image of something that is neither perceived as real nor present to the senses.

Creative people use it to express their ideas knowing full well they are not real, insane people use it to make their own lala land and become full participant of that extrange world.

So what might appear limited to some, it might just be a sign of sanity. To whatever group you belong, enjoy the games, I know I will.

Posted by: hock1 | December 23, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Only a moron would strip Ovie of the "C". That would do more to hurt chemistry on this team. I don't remember any of you ripping the team for giving Ovie the "C". I posted last year that I didn't think he was the best choice but, what is done is done. I fully support Ovie as captain. I thought Ovie dropping the gloves and getting vocal did show leadership.
Knuble doesn't need the "C" to lead. He is a leader no matter what is on his jersey (and he is UFA at the end of the year). I'm guessing most of the people posting get their hockey knowledge from NHL 2011.
The "C" had more meaning when the players voted on the captain. IMO getting voted captain of a team is one the best individual awards in sports.

Posted by: chriscaps | December 23, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The ignorance of most of the regular posters on this blog is breathtaking. Every time I make the mistake of reading through a blog post into the comments, I am reminded of this fact. You guys need to get a life, and a clue.

Posted by: pcalver1 | December 23, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

pcalver1 wrote:

"The ignorance of most of the regular posters on this blog is breathtaking. Every time I make the mistake of reading through a blog post into the comments, I am reminded of this fact. You guys need to get a life, and a clue."

Please expand on this comment.

Posted by: redhotCAPSaicin | December 23, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

i> And this time I just feel a solid Caps victory.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | December 23, 2010 10:48 AM


@SAOTI:

From your mouth to God(esse)'s Ears, let it be so!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 23, 2010 3:16 PM

====================================

"So let it be written. So let it be done."


Posted by: JohnWWW | December 23, 2010 3:47 PM

SO SAY WE ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: allCAPS | December 23, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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