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Flyers look to sign Knuble, could play on weekend

by Adam Kimelman /

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren announced Thursday that forward Mike Knuble will arrive in town Friday with the intention of signing a contract.

"Mike's coming in [Friday] morning and we'll get him checked out by the doctors," Holmgren said between periods of Thursday's 2-1 win over the New York Rangers. "I assume he's ready to go."

Holmgren said if there are no medical issues, Knuble will sign and be available for the team during its weekend games at the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Obviously we're familiar with Mike," Holmgren said. "He was here for a few years not that long ago. He's a good guy, a good, heavy player, and I think he's a good guy to throw in our mix right now with our injuries."

Five players on the current roster played with Knuble, but two of them are Danny Briere and Scott Hartnell, each out with an injury. Briere (wrist) could return soon, but the Flyers on Thursday said Hartnell will be out 4-8 weeks with a broken left foot.

Knuble should be able to help the offense.

"He's a big guy in front," Maxime Talbot said. "He tips a lot of pucks. He's been a dangerous weapon in front of the net. You need a guy like that to get some goals. And he's a veteran presence as well."

Wayne Simmonds said, "He's played a long time in this League. He's a great player. He's a great net-front presence. I think I can learn some things from him."

Knuble, who had six goals and 18 points in 72 games with the Washington Capitals last season, went to training camp with the Detroit Red Wings but didn't make the team and signed a tryout deal with Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League. In his first -- now only -- AHL game, he had an assist Wednesday.

Holmgren said no one from the Flyers organization scouted Knuble, but instead the GM is going off past performances and Knuble's solid reputation from his four seasons with the team (2005-09).

"He's excited to come back," Holmgren said. "He's familiar with some of our players. There's a few guys that are left here when he last played. I think that's one of the attractions for him in coming back, familiarity with the organization and the area."

Knuble had 114 goals -- including a career-best 34 in 2005-06 -- and 221 points in 310 games in his four seasons with the Flyers. In 1,040 career NHL games with the Red Wings, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Flyers and Capitals, Knuble has 274 goals and 540 points.

The 40-year-old also could fill the role of wise veteran that was left open when Jaromir Jagr left as a free agent over the summer.

"He's a big, strong forward, he's a quality person in the locker room," coach Peter Laviolette said of Knuble. "He brings a lot of experience. I think that can be really helpful. Our group of forwards are young, maybe the youngest [in the League]. To have a guy like that with his experience and leadership I think is important. The fact that he's a big, strong player, played a lot of games in the League, I feel like that can only help us."


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