Capitals coach Dale Hunter doesn’t like to roll four lines start to finish. He leans heavily on his scoring lines.
When a player like veteran winger Mike Knuble fails to crack the top nine, he doesn’t have a whole lot to do.
“You can handle it a bunch of different ways,” Knuble told CSNWashington.com. “You can pout and be miserable about it. You can get angry about it. It can not affect you at all. After a time maybe you’ve got to realize things change on teams and never stay the same. All I can do is be ready and treat every game like a new adventure.”
When Alexander Semin suffered an arm injury, Knuble moved up to play with Nicklas Backstrom and left wing Marcus Johansson on the second line. But Semin made a quick recovering, leaving Knuble to wonder how much he would play for the Caps in the second half.
In his first 38 games Knuble scored just three goals and added six assists and is a team-worst minus-7/
“I’m not going to lie, it’s not fun,” he said. “We’re all competitive guys and we want to be out there on the ice at the end of a game. Dale cuts down to three lines and shortens his bench. That’s the way he does things and if you’re not in that (top) nine it’s tough.
“You try to be excited for each game. You kind of get rolling early, but then it’s very difficult to be out there (in the third period) when everybody is warm and you’re stuck cold.”