Mike Knuble: 'I'm extremely frustrated'
(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
In his 12 previous NHL seasons (of 50 games or more), Mike Knuble has never experienced a scoring slump quite like the one that he's started the beginning of the 2010-11 campaign with.
Despite a plethora of quality scoring chances from his usual wheelhouse close in around the opposing net, Knuble has just one goal and four points in 11 games this season. His shooting percentage is at 3.1 percent after not dipping below 15 percent since the 2003-04 or below 10 percent since 2000-01.
"I'll be honest, I'm extremely frustrated with my start to the season. I'm very, very disappointed," Knuble said. "You come in here your second year and if it was this point last year, people would be asking: 'What the hell did we sign this guy for?' I guess I've proven I can do it. It's just a question of doing it.
"It's what you think of when you're driving home when you're alone in the car; your mind drifts off to it," he said. "As soon as you wake up in the morning I'm thinking about it."
While Knuble's lack of additions to the scoresheet has become conspicuous through the first month of the season, Coach Bruce Boudreau insists he is not worried about the 38-year-old veteran right wing finding his scoring moxie again.
The media "want to make it a point but it's not a concern," Boudreau said. "He works so hard, he's getting chances every game to score and as long as he continues to get chances, he's going to eventually put them in."
Probably more than most members of the Capitals to this point in the season, Knuble has watched goaltenders make improbable saves on his redirections from on top of the crease, or the puck bounce just the right way to hit the handle of a goalie's stick and avoid the cage. No one questions that Knuble will find a way to put the puck in the net, but for the time being it will be interesting to see how he fares on a different line than Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, with whom he's skated for the majority of his time in Washington.
While grouped with Brooks Laich and Tomas Fleischmann, who are both looking to get on the scoresheet a little more themselves, Knuble knows he must keep track of his positioning options rather than simply making a beeline for the goalmouth.
"Brooks and I kind of do the same thing. We're in the same area at times and so we might bump into each other around the net, but we just have to be aware of that," Knuble said. "With Nick and Alex I'd pretty much going down there and not worry about bumping into them too much. Now, you look around a little bit and you're actually spreading out a little. Whether [the line change ] is short term or long term, I've got my own problems to work through. You don't deserve to be on the first line when you've got your own problems to work through."
| November 2, 2010; 3:04 PM ET
Categories: Mike Knuble
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