The Washington Times - April 19, 2011, 11:57AM

If there’s one Capitals player who has been a model of consistency for at least the past few months, it’s Mike Knuble. But when the team took the ice for Tuesday’s practice Knuble was nowhere to be found.

Officially, the Caps are calling his absence a “maintenance day.” He appeared to get hit by a Mike Green shot in the third period Sunday just before scoring his first goal of the playoffs. After a couple seconds of celebrating, Knuble took his right glove off and looked down at his hand.

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Asked about that play Tuesday, Bruce Boudreau said: “That’s why you have a maintenance day.” But he didn’t confirm or deny that Knuble had hurt his handle.

The 38-year-old right wing has not practiced since. Boudreau still expects Knuble to play.

But if he doesn’t, players said they think they can adjust.

“He’s a big part of our game and if he’s out, it is a big loss,” forward Marco Sturm said. “I think we played pretty good all year when guys are out – guys are jumping in. Everyone has to do their job there and work maybe a little bit harder.”

Jason Chimera took Knuble’s place on the top line, with Eric Fehr skating with Marcus Johansson and Brooks Laich. Could that be an indication Fehr will jump into the lineup, replacing Chimera?

“He’s coming on the trip, so there’s a chance,” Boudreau said.