The Washington Times - December 20, 2011, 03:05PM

The Washington Capitals aren’t missing an opportunity to honor Mike Knuble on Tuesday night when he plays his 1,000th career NHL game. Neither is the fan group known fittingly as “Knuble’s Knights.”

Sir Nathan, 27, of Burke, and Sir Ryan, 26, of Alexandria, often go to games dressed in full knight gear and run a Twitter account and blog to pay tribute to the 39-year-old right wing.

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The Knuble fans planned ahead and made sure this game was included in their Caps ticket package. They’re bringing a sign that reads “K-N-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-U-B-L-E” for their entire row to spell out and have a smaller sign designed for the glass during warm-ups.

“Really, though, we’re just honored to be in the arena for the celebration,” Nathan said in an email.

The whole Knuble’s Knights thing started in the summer of 2009 after he came to Washington from the Philadelphia Flyers. They were looking for a less-heralded player to throw some support behind and it was “clear” Knuble was the guy.

“He came to the Caps with a reputation as a big contributor on the ice and a strong leader off the ice, but a player who largely operated in the shadow of the big names he played with, whether Gretzky in New York or Thornton in Boston or even Ovechkin in D.C.,” Nathan said.

Since, they’ve met Knuble and had him sign their helmets and Ryan has even been knighted – so to speak – by Craig Laughlin, Ted Leonsis, George McPhee and long-time NHL referee Bill McCreary. Last year Knuble’s Knights enjoyed perhaps their biggest victory with the “One more year” campaign that featured a sign and plenty of Twitter messages hoping for an extension to the Knuble era in Washington.

“We don’t claim to have actually influenced George McPhee’s decision,” Nathan said, “but they signed him to a one-year extension, so we’ll count it a success.”

Being there to celebrate 1,000 NHL games along with plenty of Knuble’s friends, family and teammates counts as a success, too.

Asked about Knuble’s spot on the fourth line, here’s what the Knights had to say:

“We both dislike it for two reasons. First, as fans of Knuble, we want to see him get more opportunities, more goals, more glory. Second (and more important), as fans of the Caps, we want to see the team do better. It seems like Knuble contributes more when he’s playing with top-line guys. We’re not coaches - or experts of any kind, really - but it seems like just about everyone except the Caps coaching staff thinks he belongs on the first or second line and that he needs to be getting more time on ice. It seems odd that the coaches don’t see that, too. With that said, the way he’s handled it publicly illustrates why he’s such a strong asset for this team. He’s displayed humility and and a team-first attitude, and has continued to be a leader, which we think says a lot about his character.”