Mike Knuble was visibly mad after the Capitals’ 5-2 loss to the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night. Asked about his team’s defensive commitment that was absent in defeat, Knuble did not pull any punches.
In short, he said he and his teammates looked like “losers” and “clowns.” His full quotes, answering two separate questions, can be found below with the specific wording of the questions:
Q: Mike, you guys have made such a presence of wanting to be a good defensive team last year. Does that make a night like this or a stretch like this more frustrating because of that commitment to defense that you preached all last year?
Mike Knuble: “Defense takes urgency. Urgency in your play and it takes urgency in your mindset coming into the play. I don’t know if it’s because it’s November – there’s not that urgency yet. Nobody’s really under the gun at all. We still feel like the season’s early. [Thirteen] games in, you haven’t played that many games. I don’t know if that’s the case; maybe a little bit more defensive urgency because last year we were under the gun when we started playing well defensively. Everybody made a commitment.
“They’re not scoring ugly goals, either. They’re snapping it around and backdoor play, goalie not even in the net. They make you look bad. It’s like embarrassing when you’re on the ice and guys are beating you. The other night, get beat one on four, just playing like a bunch of losers. You’re going to lose if you play like that – you’re going to lose every night in the league. Let alone talking about playoffs and all that. You’ll lose every night in the league, and I think we all went through that last year. “
Q: Mike, given everything this team has been through over the last several years, is it important to have that urgency now – even if it is November – just to start getting everything right?”
Knuble: “You practice it, but it just doesn’t happen. It takes a commitment. We practice it in practice; we can’t say we’re not prepared. We know what we’re doing, we talk about it, we watch film about it. And then it’s just a commitment to doing it on the ice. Maybe through the first five games I felt top to bottom it was a better commitment. Of late, I don’t know if we’re all committed. It’s sad to say and we all look bad because of the result - because we won’t all commit. We look great when we’re all committing; we look all like a bunch of clowns when we don’t. A very average team when we’re not all committed.”