The Washington Times - February 11, 2012, 02:06PM

Mike Knuble has missed games in recent years because of various little injuries. He sat out a game in late 2010 when Bruce Boudreau wanted to rest players while the Washington Capitals were cruising along toward the Presidents’ Trophy.

But being a healthy scratch for performance reasons Thursday night was a throwback, and not in a good way.

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“It’s been 10 years. It’s very humbling and it takes you back to your days when you’re a young player trying to find your way. You definitely don’t like it; you hate it as a player,” Knuble said. “You can’t walk around and pout, though, and be miserable about it. It’s not the first time it’s happened to somebody; it won’t be the last time.

“No player likes that. You’re here to play hockey. You’re here to contribute to your team, and that’s the No. 1 purpose and No. 1 feeling you’ve got to have every night. … When you’re not told you’re going that night, it really stings.”

Knuble, who said he didn’t know whether he’d play Sunday at the New York Rangers, described how coach Dale Hunter told him he was going to be a healthy scratch.

“He told me I wasn’t going to play and just kind of said, ‘You haven’t scored in a while and bad plus-minus.’ I don’t think stats are the full story all the time. ‘You haven’t scored in 29 games’ or whatever it was,” Knuble said. “I guess the statistics support it a little bit. But stats aren’t the full story all the time.”

Knuble hasn’t scored a goal since Dec. 5 and has just three to go along with eight assists and a minus-14 rating this season. The 39-year-old said he “hopes” he’s been better than those numbers but admits being snake-bitten quite a few times this season.

“Bottom line is you didn’t finish. It didn’t go in for you. A little bit of coulda woulda shoulda,” Knuble said. “There’s still a lot of time in the season and a lot of games left. Dale’s got to put the best lineup he can out there, the one he feels that gives the team the best chance to win. Somebody’s going to be out.”