“Kanooblian” illustration by Mark Burrier
Mike Knuble scored 65 goals in three seasons for the Washington Capitals. For a big chunk of that time, Knuble was an integral part of DC’s dynamic top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom. But in 2011-12 Knuble’s ice time was cut drastically and he was relegated to grinding on the fourth line. Knuble still excelled in the postseason, but some considered him over the hill (erroneously methinks). If Knuble had retired then, it would have been a disappointing end to a great career, but he persevered– moving to Michigan, training with the Red Wings, and finally signing with the Hartnell-down Philadelphia Flyers.
On Friday night, Knuble returns to Verizon Center, but he’ll be crashing the wrong net.
Since we started RMNB, Mike Knuble has been my favorite player to write about. I like the way he plays: hard-nosed and honest. I like the way he talks about the game: direct and free of cliché. I like how he gets better in the springtime. The only reason we started shouting “Crash the net!” is because we want every player to be like Mike. I bet I’m not alone in thinking that way.
And now he’s wearing pylon orange. Flerm.
It’s like running to your ex. You were kind of a crummy boyfriend at the end there, and now it’s over. A few months later you bump into her in Chinatown, and she looks great and happy, and now you’re filled with Heavy Thoughts: What could you have done differently? Was she The One? What does Philadelphia have that you don’t have?
Okay, let’s talk about whooping. It’s a practice reserved for only the dearest ex-Caps. Guys like Witt and Gonchar, defenders who made their names in Washington before moving on. Whenever one of those guys touches the puck, the Verizon Center is supposed to whoop as a sign of both respect and irreverence (or something, I dunno).
I propose that Mike Knuble deserves that recognition on Friday night. Let’s whoop his ass. Err.
The legalists among you will say Mike is not eligible for whooping. I’ll defer to the wisdom of crowds on this, but Kanoobs deserve some kind of props tonight If not whooping, how about a standing ovation? At some point, Knuble’s big ass (as Elliot often put it) is going to be up on the jumbotron, and we should use that opportunity to let him know how we feel.
And then let’s watch our boys follow his example and crash the damn net.
To commemorate the night, Ian has made this lovely sign for Kanoobs. If you’re going to the game tonight, make a stop at Kinko’s beforehand and print this bad boy out.
Crash the net.*
(* Not you, Mike)
UPDATE: I have neglected to credit the Brouwer Rangers (née Knuble’s Knights). The knuuuuuuuuuble sign was their idea. My bust.
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