The news that Mike Knuble would not be back with the Caps was met with more than the usual amount of sadness among the people who don’t come and go as often as players.
“Worked in #DMV for 28 years,” wrote Comcast SportsNet veteran producer Larry Duvall. “Mike Knuble is one of best athletes in any sport to interview for insight, clarity, honesty.”
“The phrase ‘he’s a class guy’ doesn’t do justice to Mike Knuble,” CSN anchor Michael Jenkins wrote. “He’s an example for all athletes, not just hockey players.”
“Can’t overstate what a quality person (and player) Mike Knuble is,” wrote longtime Caps PR guy Nate Ewell. “Will be rooting for him wherever he ends up.”
If you needed any more proof, just listen to the end of Thursday’s Knuble appearance on DC101’s Elliot in the Morning (audio below). Elliott asked Knuble about Knuble’s Knights, the goofy kids who dressed up in medieval outfits, and later brought Free Knuble signs to Verizon Center, causing a brief kerfuffle when they were told to scram.
Knuble wasn’t playing at the time, and he couldn’t really talk about his Free Knuble supporters for obvious reasons, but he did on Thursday.
“I don’t know how to exactly pay respect to them,” he said. “I don’t know, they’ve got to take somebody else under their wing. They were great guys, man, I really appreciated them. That was kind of funny, when I was being sat out and they came with their signs. In hindsight, that’s hilarious. I think that’s really funny. You can’t really say a whole lot at the time, but it kind of made me chuckle a little bit. Those guys were awesome.”
(See the Knights and their goodbye to Knuble here.)
And I guess it’s easy to say nice things about your soon-to-be-ex-city on the way out, but Knuble did it particularly well.
“I’m very thankful for my three years here,” he said. “It was a lot of fun. I’ve got to believe there were some good moments. We had some good moments here. I just want to leave an impression. Hopefully I left a good impression of myself around here with people and friends and teammates. I hope that’s what I accomplished here....
“As you get older, you get to know people in the community and you develop friendships. We have a ton of friendships outside the game; people that had never seen a hockey game before now are some really good friends of ours. And we kind of brought them in and they kind of picked up the game a little bit.
“It’s a very unique city as far as who you meet and who you become friends with. They’re not the typical people that I would probably run into, but we all run together because we all have kids together. And we all became great friends, and they’ll be friends for our life.
“It was great to see the passion. We play in a sold-out building every night. People like our team, the city enjoys watching us play, great young players here. It’s an exciting place to play. I’ll always think highly of playing hockey here.”
He joked that he wouldn’t be pulling a Brett Favre about retirement, that he wants to play as long as possible, so he’ll look for an opportunity wherever it comes.
“I think my life is full anyway,” he said. “It’s not like I’m gonna be sitting around. If I kind of get the general idea of how things are gonna go, then you start making other plans. There’s still be options, there’ll still be stuff to do....I don’t know, man. I think I’ve made contingency plans for everything. I think I’m prepared either way.”
He also said the people who were sad to see him go would mostly miss his wife and kids. But he seemed to realize that some fans were actually upset.
“It’s always nice that people speak up and say that they’re sad about that decision,” he said. “That makes you feel good.”
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