Mike Knuble has not yet asked Capitals general manager George McPhee to be traded.
But judging from his comments today at Kettler Capitals Iceplex he may be about to.
In an interview that lasted all of two minutes, Knuble, a healthy scratch in each of the Capitals last three games, might have punched his ticket out of Washington.
Youve got to face reality, Knuble, 39, said after participating in an optional skate. You can handle it a number of ways. You can be content and just sit there and let things happen as they may, or you can force an issue.
You kind of have to decide that. Were two weeks before the Feb. 27 trade deadline. If a player is not going to be used, or in the near future youre not in their plans, then that player probably wouldnt want to be there.
Thats how we are. You want to go somewhere where youre going to play and contribute to the team. If you cant do it in one place, then youve got to go."
Asked if he will request a trade before the Capitals embark on a four-game road trip on Thursday that will take them to Florida for games against the Panthers and Lightning, then to Carolina and Ottawa, Knuble sounded as though he might.
I dont know. I havent thought that far ahead yet, he said. I just got through this weekend we had three games in five nights -- and we all saw what happened. It gets you thinking. Were all competitive. We want to play and we want to contribute. If its not irritating you and youre not thinking about your options, you might as well stop playing then.
Capitals coachDaleHunterdefended his decision to make Knuble a healthy scratch over minor-leaguers Keith Aucoin and Joel Rechlicz. Knuble has just three goals this season and is a team-worst minus-14.
Well, you know, we follow stats, Hunter said. He hasnt got a point in the last 11 games he played and he was a minus player. Basically, thats what it was. It was his production and his defensive play. I know Mike. He works hard and he wants to play.
With just 12 healthy forwards Knuble would return to the lineup if the Caps do not make a roster move between now and Friday night. So when, if ever, will Knuble return to the Capitals lineup?
He will eventually, Hunter said. Its a game-time decision. Hes a leader; hes a professional. We all go through it when we get older. I went through it. Youre a professional about it. You train hard out here so that when you do get back in youre ready to go and show me that I made a mistake. Thats what I want.
Theres a very good chance that wont happen.