Teams are always looking for guys who have the experience of winning the Stanley Cup to help guide other players on the club who have not. Mike Knuble is that guy for the Washington Capitals. He’s the only one to have lifted the Cup, doing so twice with Detroit early in his career, and he recently sat down with Corey Masisak of Caps Extra.
Q: What do you remember about what it was like after winning the first time?
A: I was just a young player, and didn’t have much of a chance to play, but I still think I learned a ton about guys and how they worked. It made a big impression. To go through the whole run, I remember at the time thinking it was like having your movie win the Academy Award. It was just really rewarding.
Q: What was it like to repeat?
A: We had a real unique situation. We kept the team together, but they had the limousine accident and they lost [Vladimir] Konstantinov. I don’t know if there was an extra motivation or if it was something that made guys play harder. You could just see the guys blocking shots and being willing to sacrifice – all the things you need to do win a championship.
Q: When young players win the Cup, people always say they don’t appreciate it enough. Is that something you’ve realized as your career has gone on?
A: When you’re a young player, you don’t know when it is going to happen again, but you’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve got tons of time.’ Once you’ve been in the league a long time you know that is not guaranteed by any means. To have a chance to get back and be a contender is one of the reasons why I signed here.
Q: Is there any wisdom you plan on imparting on the younger guys once the run starts?
A: We’ll have to see how it goes. Will I have the answers? I don’t know. I think the biggest thing is we have to make sure that everyone is involved and not just the guys who are going to be in the lineup for the first round. We are going to need a lot of players. Something always happens, and someone who wasn’t playing ends up doing something great and is the difference.
Q: Do you think this is your best chance to get back?
A: Based on the regular season, I would definitely say so. We had a good team in Boston one year, but we screwed up the first round before the lockout. We had a good team in Philly a few times, but I think this is probably the best. We have an MVP-type player and other really good guys to go along with Alex [Ovechkin]. We have a really good team, and we’re healthy, and all signs are pointing toward that direction.