Mike Knuble is never the sort of guy you want to upset on the ice. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s a veteran player that knows all the tricks.
When both Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter decided to park Knuble on the fourth line this season after playing on the same line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom last season, instead of getting down in the dumps about getting older, Knuble got angry and fought his way back to playing top minutes.
Knuble tells CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley that fighting back is in his nature and he told Hunter as much himself.
“My point,” Knuble said, “was that I care. I’m 39 years old and I’m here to earn another contract. I’m not here to just play it out and be content sitting there.
“I’m competitive and I want to be out there trying to win games. That’s part of being an athlete. You want to be proactive when you’re not playing, I wanted him to know that I care and I have more to give.”
Caring is one thing, performing is something else entirely and through Knuble’s career he’s done that. This year it’s been different. With Alexander Semin dealing with an injury, Knuble is getting his minutes back but he’s got to help them score goals to justify the temporary promotion from the fourth line.
Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.
Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.
Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.
With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.