Monday, April 11, 2011, 9:57 a.m. UPDATED 1:36 p.m.SportsNet New York ProHockeyTalk.com
By Ryan O'Halloran
CAPITALS PAGE CAPITALS VIDEO
Before getting down to the business of chasinga Stanley Cup, the Capitals momentarily placed an eye toward the future by signing right wing Mike Knuble to a one-year contract extension.The deal, worth a reported 2 million, was announced by the team about 30 minutes before practice, the Capitals in preparing for Wednesdays playoff opener against the New York Rangers.Knuble was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and turns 39 on June 4, but an eight consecutive 20-goal season and leadership ability made him worth locking up."Its another great opportunity to play for a team thats going to have a chance to win it every year," he said. "I was lucky to have a say in where I played. Im thrilled about it."Knuble arrived before last year and earned 2.8 million the last two seasons. His 24 goals rank fourth on the Capitals and hes been a mainstay skating with the top line of Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin.A big incentive for Knuble is that the contract will allow him to reach the 1,000-game plateau. He ended the regular season with 968 matches (and 268 goals) on his resume."Im most looking forward to playing in my 1,000th game that would be a great moment next year and its been my goal to get to that point for the last couple years," he said. "I still have a chance to play that wasnt something I was ready to give up yet."Knuble enters the playoffs with nine goals in his last 13 games."Hes like fine wine; he keeps getting better," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "The last half of the year, hes been arguably our best player."Said wing Jason Chimera: "Hes the ultimate hockey player he goes to the net and scores goals the right way, the ugly way. For sure, Backstrom and Ovechkin look up to him. He talks a little bit off the ice but he leads on the ice by playing as hard as he can."