The Washington Times - December 9, 2011, 08:58AM

Mike Knuble is an frank a talker as you’ll find in the Washington Capitals’ locker room. At 39 years old, he has seen a lot in the NHL, won a Stanley Cup and gone through more than one coaching change.

Recently, the Caps have had more of a “push-back,” something ex-coach Bruce Boudreau mentioned on his way out was lacking in his final games. 

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Knuble seemed to agree.

“We didn’t have any the week before. We found ourselves down going into the third period and just shut down, just played it out like we didn’t care,” he said Thursday. “For the week to 10 days that we were mailing it in in the third period and not coming up with much effort, we certainly showed a lot more the last two games.”

That’s the strongest take so far from a player on the Caps “mailing it in” before Boudreau got the ax.

The positive moving forward is that Knuble and his teammates have been showing more fire lately – especially Monday when trailing 5-2 to the Florida Panthers going into the third.

Brooks Laich scoffed at the idea that coming back to almost tie the score was anything of a “silver lining,” but coach Dale Hunter said it showed “character.” Now, the key is for character to continue to generate victories as Washington attempts to climb up the Eastern Conference standings.