Mike Knuble regrets the words, but not the message.
One day after saying the Capitals looked like a bunch of clowns and a bunch of losers in back-to-back losses to the Islanders and Stars, Knuble said Wednesday he wished he would have talked to teammates before making such inflammatory comments.
I probably could have used a little more tact, Knuble said. Im not a fan of talking about my team to everybody else before we talk among ourselves. It just kind of came out and you live with what happens.
Actually, every player who was asked about Knubles post-game comments agreed with the 39-year-old winger and applauded him for speaking out.
Knoobs doesnt say much, but when he talks people listen, Capitals left wing Jason Chimera said. Hes been around a long time. Hes a great leader and hes a guy we look up to.
He was speaking from his heart. Hes not calling us losers or clowns. Hes not that type of guy. He was speaking from anger. A lot of times Ive said some stupid things in the media, but obviously we did play pretty bad and thats what hes saying. Not that were losers, but we played like horse(bleep).
Chimera said he wants every player to take Knubles words to heart and began with the names Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin.
It starts right from Ovie on down, Chimera said. Ovie, Semin, those guys have to lead the charge with the hard work. And guys like me and Hendy (Matt Hendricks) and Knoobs, who work hard, have to work harder.
Defensemen Karl Alzner and Roman Hamrlik also had no problem with Knubles comments.
Everybody has free speech, Hamrlik said. You can say whatever you want. I think hes absolutely right. Hes been in the league long enough and he knows how we played. Im not complaining.
In fact, Alzner thinks what Knuble said might have been necessary.
Its not offensive, Alzner said. Its understandable. We all see it as well, but when a guy like Mike Knuble says it I take it to heart a little more. I know he want to win. Hes nearing the end of his career. He wants to win a Cup and when he sees us not working hard enough or not playing like we all know we can its something you want to change and hes a guy you want to change for.
Boudreau said that if Knuble was challenging his teammates, he certainly backed it up with the way he practiced on Wednesday.
Thats what leaders do, Boudreau said. They get mad and then they lead by example. The oldest guy out here was working as hard or harder than anybody.