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“He’s become really good at it, so good that we have other players watching him and trying to figure out how he does it,” McPhee said. “He’s made a good living out of learning how to do something like that, but he has to play with the top players to do it.”

There’s certainly no shortage of them on the Caps’ roster, whether Knuble is on the first line with Ovechkin and Backstrom, or spends time playing with Marcus Johansson, newcomer Troy Brouwer and others. No matter the combinations, Knuble is determined to enjoy the experience and the expectations as the Caps try to fulfill their promise and he tries to keep up. For at least another season.

“We’re all just cheating time,” he said.