The Washington Times - April 9, 2012, 05:35PM

Mike Knuble wasn’t told Saturday that his being a healthy scratch was a chance for the 39-year-old to get a rest in Game 82 of the Washington Capitals’ season.

“No, they’re just changing the lineup,” he recalled Monday.

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In some ways it was a fitting ending to a difficult regular season for the respected veteran and alternate captain. It was his 10th game as a healthy scratch, something that did not come as much of a surprise in April as it did the first time in February.

Knuble finished with six goals, 12 assists and a minus-15 rating. Asked to evaluate his season, Knuble did not speak in glowing terms.

“Just that it’s very disappointing. Just the way it went it was just very frustrating, very disappointing just because you have higher standards for yourself and what you feel you can achieve,” Knuble said. “And then when you don’t achieve those, you’re very disappointed.”

Knuble went 34 games without a goal, between one he scored Dec. 5 at the Florida Panthers and the one March 13 at the New York Islanders. Starting March 13, Knuble had three goals in four games, but the previous drought was not lost on the right wing who had strung together eight straight 20-goal seasons.

“I felt I made some progress toward the end of the year, but it was almost like you’re due for something good to happen during the year,” he said. “Too cold in the middle of the year. I think I went 30 or 40 games with hardly a point. It was very disappointing in that respect.”

When the Caps did line rushes at Monday’s practice in preparation for their first-round series against the Boston Bruins, Knuble was in a red jersey that looked familiar on him. Usually it signifies players on the first line, a place he spent a lot of time in past seasons.

Not this year, and this time it’s likely he was just filling in for Alexander Semin on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera.

Asked if he thought he’d be in the lineup Thursday for Game 1 against Boston, Knuble wasn’t so sure.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I think anything could happen. I’m 50-50.”

Lest no one forget, Knuble played with pins in his broken right thumb during last year’s playoffs.