Frozen Four feature: Mike Knuble
Prior to the NHL, the Washington Capital played at the University of Michigan
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A native of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Knuble was drafted in the fourth round, 76th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. He played the next four years at the University of Michigan and was given Second Team CCHA All-Star honors in 1994 and 1995 and NCAA West All-American Team honors in 1995.
Following his collegiate career, he made his professional debut in the 1995 Calder Cup playoffs with the Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL. He spent the entire 1995–96 season and most of the 1996–97 season with Adironack before making his NHL debut with the Detroit’s NHL club on March 26, 1997.
In 1997-98, Knuble played in his first full season with the Red Wings and helped the team to a Stanley Cup championship, despite only playing in three postseason matches.
Prior to the 1998-99 campaign, the Red Wings traded Knuble to the New York Rangers and a second-round draft choice in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, which turned out to be current NHLer Tomas Kopecky. Knuble played in all 82 games with the Rangers that season, recording 15 goals and 20 assists. With a month to go in the 1999-00 season, he was traded a second time, in this instance to the Boston Bruins for former Lightning forward Rob DiMaio.
After his career as a Bruin, Knuble signed with the Philadelphia Flyers following the 2003-04 campaign. He responded with his best season as a pro in 2005–06, recording career highs in goals (34), assists (31), and points (65).
Knuble went on to record his first career hat trick on Feb. 2, 2008, scoring all the goals in a 3-0 Flyers win over the Anaheim Ducks. Knuble then notched his first career playoff overtime goal on Apr. 17, 2008, scoring the game-winner during the second overtime of the Flyers 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals.
It wouldn’t be long, however, until Knuble joined the Capitals. On Jul. 1, 2009, he signed a two-year deal with Washington and was then signed to a one-year extension on Apr. 11 of last season.
On Dec. 20, 2011 Knuble played in his 1000th career NHL game. At the time, Knuble had scored 221 NHL goals since turning 30 years old.
Knuble On…The Competition At The Frozen Four: “I think the biggest challenge is that all the games are single elimination. On one hand, the stakes are super tight, but if you are fortunate enough to make it that far, it can be a great reward for the players knowing how close each and every game is. It’s like your entire season depends on every single night. I think it’s a great thing for the sport.”
The Atmosphere Of The Frozen Four Compared To The NHL: “It’s great to see all of the school spirit. A lot of these schools take this very seriously, so it’s a lot of fun. I remember going to our games and seeing the people in the stands cheering and wearing your colors. It really makes a difference and it’s a popular event, so sometimes the two sides can get pretty heated.”
College Hockey Rivalries: “Well they’re not just a hockey thing. It involves your school and sometimes your region where you live, so it’s always great to see the fans come out and cheer you on. Some do a little more than others, but over the years, they’ve grown to be exciting and they make for some great memories. As a player in a rivalry game, it seems like every hit is harder, every goal is a big one and everyone on the ice is just giving a little more than usual. They’re a lot of fun and very unique. That’s what makes college hockey such a terrific game.”