Mike Knuble is a smart guy. He knows the situation he’s in right now, with more times as a healthy scratch this month (five) than he has goals this season (three) with the Washington Capitals.
So while the 39-year-old alternate captain hasn’t asked to be traded, he understands the possibility is there.
“I’m not standing there with my head in the sand,” Knuble said. “I know with the year that I’ve had and how things have gone of late and an expiring contract and that, I know it’s a lot of the characteristics that become tradable at this time of year.”
Knuble practice with the Caps on Monday morning, skating on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson. And while coach Dale Hunter said his lineup for Tuesday night against the New York Islanders was a “game-time decision,” Knuble thought he was just a placeholder for Keith Aucoin.
“That’s what I assumed would happen that he’ll be back tomorrow,” the right wing said. “So I just got to fill in his spot for a day.”
Knuble has been a healthy scratch for five of the past nine games. He hasn’t scored a goal since Dec. 5.
Asked about wanting to go somewhere that he could be in the lineup every night, Knuble didn’t sidestep the question.
“Well, yeah, I think every player likes that opportunity to play. That being said, you start something as a player, you’re with this team for a couple years, you want to see it through,” Knuble said. “George [McPhee] is never going to pass [on] a chance to better his club, and if something comes along to better his club, I think we can all pretty much expect him to do that.”
And Knuble’s family is aware of the volatility, too.
“There’s a lot more baggage that goes along with it, too. They’re not dumb, either,” Knuble said. “They know what’s going on, too. It’s part of the game.”