At 40 years old, Mike Knuble is trying to extend his long and distinguished hockey career as the only tryout player on the Detroit Red Wings’ training camp roster.
Not surprisingly, he’s got a few people pulling for him in D.C.
“I’d be happy to see him there,” Capitals left wing Jason Chimera said. “It’s his home state and he’d like to finish off his career in Detroit. He’s in good shape. He’s 40 years old but he still looks like a 25-year-old.”
Knuble has been skating on a fourth line with the Red Wings and coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday he’s curious to see if Knuble can keep pace at the NHL level.
"The big thing is we have to make decisions based on one speed, when the game is going at a completely different speed," Babcock told reporters.
Knuble was a fourth-round pick of the Red Wings back in 1991 and spent four seasons in the Detroit organization before developing into a 25-goal scorer in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington. In his first two seasons with the Capitals Knuble scored 53 goals, but saw that total dip to six last season in 72 games.
“Even at the end of last year when the writing was on the wall that he wasn’t coming back, he said he wasn’t done,” Caps center Brooks Laich said. “I had a lot of respect for Mike, how he approached the game, how he approached his conditioning. He was a true professional.
“Now he’s going to a team that I think really appreciates veteran guys like that. I think he can still play.”
Knuble is considered a longshot to make the Red Wings, who are expected to make their final roster cuts on Friday.
Chimera said the first week of Caps training camp wasn’t the same without his buddy.
“I was almost lost around the room without him,” Chimera said. “I was calling his name and wondering where he was. He’s a pretty good friend and that’s the worst thing about this game. You don’t lose a friend but you lose the camaraderie with a person.
“I clicked with Mike pretty good. He’s a family guy, a guy who commands respect and he’s a class act. I can’t say enough about him.”