SUNRISE, Fla. — Veteran forward Mike Knuble was the only Philadelphia Flyers player missing a nameplate in the visiting locker room at the BB&T Center Saturday morning.
After completing the morning skate in preparation for Saturday night's contest against the Florida Panthers, the first game of Knuble's second stint with the Flyers, the 40-year-old recent signee wasn’t about to complain.
While he enjoyed his one-game stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, Knuble is happy to be back in the NHL after signing Friday with the Flyers.
"It was good. It was in my hometown. It was important. [I'm] pretty shocked that it wasn’t a little bit longer," Knuble said of his stint with the Griffins. "I thought I had two, three weeks before anything would pop up, but it was fun. Good experience. It’s funny to say, but I wish it would have been a couple more games there. It would have been fun."
Knuble was signed after the Flyers lost wing Scott Hartnell for 4-8 weeks with a foot injury. Knuble isn’t likely to replace Hartnell’s scoring, but he’s the kind of veteran who should fit in comfortably.
"You’re talking about a seasoned pro here," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "He probably has played every system there is and I’m sure he’ll come into the lineup seamlessly."
Knuble, who spent four seasons with the Flyers (2005-09) before playing the last three with Washington, skated Saturday morning on a line with Brayden Schenn and Ruslan Fedotenko.
"He knows the game very well," Fedotenko said. "It’s great to have him [and his] experience in the locker room. He can score goals, he can pass, he can fit in different ways. We’re excited."
For Knuble, the biggest issue Saturday night and for his first few games with the Flyers might be conditioning.
"The other guys here have already played four games. So that will be half the battle, trying to get your legs going," Knuble said. "I’m sure I won’t be overtaxed in the beginning. You need time to get yourself in the pace of the season, the pace of the game. It’s going to be really fast."