ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals forward Mike Knuble says if he’s not part of the team’s immediate plans, then it might be best to send his talents elsewhere.
Knuble, 39, has been a healthy scratch in three straight games – all Washington losses – after going the previous 11 games without a point.
The eight-time 20-goal-scorer has three goals and 11 points in 53 games this season, having played primarily on Washington’s fourth line. He is also a team-worst minus-14.
“If a player is not going to be used,” Knuble said, “or in the near future you don’t have plans, then that player probably wouldn’t want to be there. That’s how we are in our League – you want to go somewhere where you’re going to play and contribute to your team and if you can’t do it in one place, then you’ve got to go.”
Capitals coach Dale Hunter would not say whether he plans on using Knuble this weekend when the Caps begin a four-game road trip with back-to-back games in Florida and Tampa Bay.
“He’s a leader, he’s a professional,” Hunter said of the Caps alternate captain. “We’re trying for more speed in the lineup and Mike can be professional about it and train hard out here so when [he] gets back in [he’s] ready to go and can show me that I made a mistake. That’s what I want.”
Knuble watched the Capitals fall Monday 5-3 to the San Jose Sharks while American Hockey League call-ups Joel Rechlicz earned a sweater. Rechlicz played just 90 seconds spread over two shifts.
“Everybody in here is a little bit frustrated with the way it’s been going lately,” Knuble said. “Then you throw this on top of things – you watch your team losing and all of that, it’s very frustrating.”
With the NHL trade deadline now 13 days away, Knuble was asked Tuesday if plans on formally requesting a trade.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead yet. I just kind of got through this weekend with three games in [five] nights – just wanted to get through it and see what [would] happen. Obviously we all saw what happened so it gets you thinking.
“We’re all competitive and we want to play and we all want to contribute. So if it’s not irritating you and you’re not thinking of your options then you may as well stop playing then.”