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The reverence for Knuble from ex-teammates speaks to how big of an impact he had within the Caps’ locker room. Even when he was frustrated with a lack of playing time, Knuble didn’t let that affect his relationships with fellow players.

Mike’s one of the greatest people I’ve played with, and I say people because he’s a great person,” forward Matt Hendricks said. “To have played with him for two years and be under his leadership, I’ve learned a lot from Mike and I’m grateful to call him a friend.”

Though it was bittersweet for Caps players to know he wasn’t going to be back, there were no such mixed emotions when they heard Knuble signed with the Flyers.

“I certainly think he can still help a team and when I saw that he signed I was very excited for him,” said forward Brooks Laich, who called Knuble a consummate professional. “At 39, 40 years old he’s one of the most fit guys on the team and his passion was still there to play. I also believe that Mike understands if he can help a team he would play, but if he was going to hinder a team he wouldn’t play. He’s got that level of respect for the game and for his teammates.”

While the Caps could use a veteran voice like Knuble, he was obviously not in their plans for this season. It’s uncertain what the Flyers‘ plans for him will be a couple of months from now, and coach Peter Laviolette and general manager Paul Holmgren haven’t spelled out what they expect from him.

“I think I’m smart enough to know I’m just going to be for everything: move up, then move down, move around,” Knuble said. “And hopefully be able to play some different roles for them and fill in some gaps that they feel they have.”

Knuble’s wife and three children will remain in Michigan for the rest of the season and visit when the schedule permits. The family man called it “not an optimal situation.”

“I don’t take that part of it lightly: It’s a difficult thing,” he said. “But we’ll try to do our best to make it work and I feel like we can.”

Just having a job and the continuation of his NHL career makes it a worthwhile sacrifice. Being back where he called home for four years eases the adjustment.

“I know my way around, we have friends in the area,” Knuble said. “I got lots of people to make me some dinners here in the next couple weeks.”