Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Report Card: Mike Knuble

After a long weekend of slacking, I am back with the nineteenth installment of my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital throughout this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is winger Mike Knuble, who just finished his second year in the organization.

Stats/Season Summary: Knuble played in 79 games this year, tallying 24 goals, 16 assists, a +10 rating, and 36 penalty minutes.  Most of the minutes he saw were on the top line, but he also played significant time on both the second and third units, and proved his versatility even further by getting time on both the power play and penalty kill.  Despite these overall solid numbers for someone of his age, though, 22 was not particularly productive over the first five months of the regular season, but was a beast in March.  March was the best month in terms of record in franchise history.  Coincidence?  Um, no. Grade: B-
Role Play: When George McPhee signed Knuble two summers ago, his goal was to bring in a veteran presence who could provide some scoring and play sidekick for Ovi and Nicky.  Though he struggled for the better part of five months with his scoring role, he never struggled with the leadership part of his job, commanding respect in the locker room.  It was almost like him getting hot was a bonus in March, but his elevated play and ability to play sidekick again was one of the reasons that Washington got hot in the early spring. Grade: B-
Playoffs: Knuble did not have a particularly good playoffs, though it was largely not his fault.  After scoring a goal in game three of the Rangers series, Knuble missed the next three playoff games with a broken finger that required surgery and pins.  He came back to play through it for games 2-4 of the Tampa Bay series, and even though he scored a goal, was not particularly effective.  Still, 2 goals, a +2, and 8 PIMs in six playoff games isn't too shabby.  At least he didn't suck. Grade: C+
Future Potential: Knuble will be 39 years old when next seasons starts, and will be back with the Caps after signing a 1-year deal this spring.  He's clearly slowing down, but he should see continued time in the top six, especially if Alex Semin gets traded, and he'll keep playing on the power play because of his net presence.  And as I said before, almost regardless of his production in terms of goals and points is the leadership he brings to the locker room, which can never be undervalued. Grade: B-

The next report card will be posted on June 2 and will feature center Matt Hendricks.

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