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Update (March 8, 2012; 11 am): With it looking likely Knuble will again be scratched for tonight’s game, and the clarification that it should definitely be allowed inside Verizon Center, we’re making the full-size version of “Free Knuble” available to all. The pdf is linked below. It’s super easy – you just:
- print out the pdf (note: it requires 8 regular-size sheets of paper, and a fair amount of your office’s color ink),
- cut along the dotted lines,
- tape them together to form one giant sign,
- take it to the game (roll it up for easy transport, or secure it to poster board for more structural integrity), and
- find the delicate balance between a) displaying it early/often and b) not getting thrown out.
Have at is: Free Knuble (Full-Size)
Original Post: As promised, here are some signs to take to tonight’s game – or any future game where Knuble might be incomprehensibly scratched. These should print out nicely on a regular sheet of paper, and there’s even a little bit of room to add your own little messages.
Feel free to post these elsewhere – just spread the word.
If you’re feeling particularly feisty:
Scratch Hunter (Note: this one may be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Trust us.)
Be it hereby decreed that on the Twentieth day of the Twelfth month in the year of our Lord, Two-thousand Eleven, #knublesign2 was a righteous victory for all that is noble and good.
Or, put simpler, we made a big-ass sign and once again people actually agreed to help hold it up as we all celebrated Mike Knuble’s 1,000th career NHL game. Here are some photos courtesy of lots of great people. Also be sure to check out the recap of the 1,000th-game ceremony from the indubitably extraordinary Russian Machine Never Breaks, from whom we kindly “borrowed” some of these shots.
We mentioned it on Twitter last night, but wanted to say thanks again to Megan Knuble (that would be Mike’s wife) for saying hi last night before warmups. (Megan and their kids were watching from the ice machine tunnel right next to where we were.) She was extremely gracious and we’re honored she would even stop by and say hello.
Congrats again to Mike Knuble on reaching this epic milestone. It was an honor to contribute to the festivities in our small way. And thanks again to everyone else who made it work.
And now begins the picture show.
Having some trouble embedding the whole video, so view it on RMNB’s recap.
CSN also did its own montage at some point around the second period:
As arguably Knuble’s most ardent, blindly-devoted fans, we are inclined to think he deserves the “C.” We lobbied for him to get it back in 2010. He’s an experienced veteran, and as fans we’ve had some opportunities to see his leadership in action. These brief glimpses point to the likelihood that he’s an even more active leader in ways fans never see. But that doesn’t mean we think Hunter should take the “C” from Ovi and give it to Knoobs.
It may have been a mistake to give the captaincy to Ovi expecting it to inspire him to be a better leader of men, but what’s done is done. Do the pros of a new coach stripping a much-loved (if currently frustrating) superstar of the “C” and giving it to a more proven leader outweigh the potential cons?
We may be missing something, but it seems the main argument for transferring the “C” is that Knuble or Laich or someone else deserves it more because they exhibit more locker-room leadership than Ovi. Although we as fans are privy to extremely little locker room leadership, that might be a fair point. But Knuble, Laich and presumably others are exhibiting that leadership without the “C” already. Would giving them the “C” make them more of a leader?
It’s not as if Knuble says, “I guess I can’t/shouldn’t be a leader in this locker room because all I’ve got on my sweater is this measly old ‘A’ patch.” We know that’s not the case. He is known for speaking his mind behind closed doors and to the media. Nor would I expect that other guys in the locker room refuse to listen to Knuble because he wears an “A” patch rather than the “C,” or that they don’t listen to Laich because he doesn’t wear a patch at all.
Giving the “C” to Knuble wouldn’t achieve much aside from a symbolic recognition of his leadership. Giving it to Laich wouldn’t achieve much aside from a symbolic recognition of the role he’s played and is expected to play over the coming years as a strong leader on and off the ice and a well-grounded, consistent player (compared to the flashy and recently inconsistent play from the superstar). The pros feel good, but the cons may outweigh them.
We saw how Ovi responded to being “benched” … immaturely. Do we really believe he’ll respond to being stripped of the “C” by playing harder? Or, will he be annoyed/offended by it and play even lazier? Beyond the psychological effects on Ovi (and no, he shouldn’t react badly to it, but it’s always a risk), what about the image the new coach wants to present to his team? There’s likely enough unease and tension in the locker room after Boudreau’s firing without also asking the players to reconsider whether Ovi deserves the “C.” As something that’s generally regarded as the players recognizing and honoring their teammate, does Coach Hunter really want to come in and give the impression he’s trying to turn them against one another? There are much more productive ways to enact accountability and inspire better performance.
The official role of the captain is to communicate with referees on the ice. Ovi seems to take that role seriously and do a good job of sticking up for his team in dealing with the zebras. Unless he fails at that job, he should keep it. The “C” patch obviously takes on a more symbolic role in terms of representing and recognizing behind-the-scenes leadership, but should it?
Leaders are leaders regardless of the official designations. Giving Ovi the “C” didn’t make him a better leader, and giving it to Knuble won’t make him a better a leader either. The fact of the matter is Knuble represents the symbolic elements of the captain without the patch and acts as a captain of the team without being asked to – which to us is a mark of true leader.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make the #knublesign experiment so much fun – especially to the awesome guys from @russianmachine and @JapersRink for helping get the word out. And thanks to @UnleashtheFury for getting there early and helping us get the best spot on the glass, and all the rest who showed up to hold signs and be part of the fun.
The players seemed to like it during warm-ups. We got a puck shot (right at my face, yikes) from Chimera and stick taps from Hendricks. And of course, Knuble noticed as well. He ended up tossing 6-8 pucks into the crowd gathered around the sign. (For those who wondered why so many Us were missing during warm-ups, we decided not to take up so much space because we didn’t want to be the jerks who blocked kids from seeing warm-ups from the glass.)
Thanks also to everyone who snapped photos. Here’s what we’ve found so far. If you got one and it’s not here, send us a link via @knublesknights or to knublesknights(at)gmail(dot)com.
As part of our wildly popular #onemoreyear campaign, we’ll be unveiling a new epic sign at Wednesday’s (4/6) Caps game. It’s the last regular season home game of what could potentially be Knuble’s last year with the Caps – perfect time to start something new, right?
It’s what we’re calling a “chain sign:” 21 individual posters (K – N – U (x16) – B – L – E) that will (we hope) involve everyone in our row. The idea will be to display the sign whenever Knuble’s name is announced (it is, after all, inspired by Wes Johnson‘s reading of the name) or he does something Knubley and therefore awesome.
We need your help:
If you’ll be there for warmp-ups, join us on the glass near sections 113/114 and snag one of the letters to display during warm-ups. Just be sure to return it to us before the game.
If you’ll have a view of Section 107, take some photos and tweet them to us (@knublesknights and tag them with #knublesign) or email them (to knublesknights (at) gmail (dot) com).
If by chance you are actually sitting in 107-R, or know someone who sits there, or want to sneak in from another section (we do not endorse this), help us! This one will rely on a good amount of cooperation, but if we can pull it off it should be pretty great.
If you’re watching on TV and they show the sign, send us a screen grab via twitter (@knublesknights and tag them with #knublesign) or email (knublesknights (at) gmail (dot) com).
By far the most common question we get (even before “are you single?”*) is “Why?” Here’s a little explanation.
There are a lot of varied opinions on folks like Capstronaut, Batman Guy, Mystic Guy, Elmo, whoever else dresses up for Caps games. We get lumped in with them because we also wear costumes to Caps games and other events (like the Convention). We’ve never heard any negative feedback directly about Knuble’s Knights, but we’re sure it’s out there and, to be honest, we understand. But there’s a reason behind the silliness and I’d like a chance to explain before you judge.
To get this out of the way, we readily acknowledge that we chose “knights” because it sounds funny when you pronounce the “k” and “n” as you do in “Knuble.” The alliteration is fun, and part of the humor we see in it is that it’s a bit of a non-sequitur. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. To some folks, this makes us like the other attention-seekers at VC. Fair. But how we came to choose Knuble is a bit different.
We decided before investing in regular game attendance in the ‘09-‘10 season that we wanted to have some fun with it. When it comes to general cheering, guys like Goat and Horn Guy have that market pretty much cornered. To avoid being “those guys who try to do Goat’s or Horn Guy’s job,” we wanted to focus on someone specific.
When people think about the Caps, they automatically think about Ovi. He’s a superstar, and the face of the franchise. Sporting an Ovi jersey or making a sign about Ovi makes perfect sense – from a fan’s perspective he is the most electrifying guy out there. (And from a purely economic sense, you know a #8 sweater won’t end up being a waste of money because Ovi isn’t going anywhere.) It’s clear on any game day at VC that the vast majority of jerseys represent a small number of players – 8, 52, 19, 28.
It’s not that there’s an inherent problem with this. Fans are naturally going to gravitate toward the “star” players. But we wanted to buck the system by finding who deserved the kind of attention guys like Ovi and Green and Backstrom get, but who didn’t get it. Who better than Mike Knuble?
The Caps acquired Knuble before the ‘09 season – he was a fresh face to the franchise, but a veteran of the league. He brought leadership skills, not to mention some experience with Lord Stanley and The Great One. He had a reputation for being the kind of player who is an ultimate workhorse without any of the attention-grabbing flashiness that makes players fan favorites. Everyone wants a Mike Knuble on their team, but nobody is particularly passionate about him when he’s playing next to an Alex Ovechkin.
We don’t know of any Knuble superfans from his previous 13 NHL seasons. It’s possible they existed, but we haven’t heard anything about them. For the most part, he’d just been a grinder, a guy who went to his office and got stuff done in front of the net, and didn’t seek a whole lot of glory along the way.
To be honest I think it weirded him out at first. What were these two guys doing calling themselves Knuble’s Knights? We met him just a couple months after we started going to games as the Knights, at an event in December 2009 (see above). He was friendly and courteous, signing our gear and taking a photo (he even knew where we sat in the arena), but he seemed a little unsure of what to make of us. Were we going to follow him home or start sending weird scented fan mail? Was he in some sort of danger?
Over time, (as he realized we’re crazy but not crazy-crazy) it seems he’s become more comfortable with it. I gather he still doesn’t really “get it,” but has come to appreciate the effort and find what we do at the very least amusing and flattering.
Is there a “look at me!” element to it? Of course. Knowing that a guy like Knuble appreciates us cheering for him makes us feel good too. (We are fans, after all. Who doesn’t get star-struck when a famous actor or athlete notices them?) We love that when we met his brother, Steve, at the 2010 Caps Convention (see below) he told us “the whole family knows about you” … or that at a practice we attended, Knuble nodded to us along the boards, then skated over to tell Green, “my guys are here today.” No one will tell you that winning “Fan of the Game” or getting a shout-out from Joe Beninati isn’t super cool. It is. Would we turn down an invitation to the owner’s box? No, and neither would you, but that’s not why we do it.
If dressing up like idiots, RicFlair-woooo-ing for Knuble every time he’s on the Jumbotron or going insane when he scores an OTGWG means that maybe, just maybe other fans cheer a little louder for the grinders, or appreciate a player like Knuble a bit more, then we’ve accomplished our goal.
In the end, every fan is free to think what they want about us or any of the other “characters” at Caps games. We don’t speak for or defend them. (Some of them confuse and annoy us just as much as they do you.) As far as “Knuble’s Knights” goes, we hope you get it, or at least that you can laugh at the silliness.
*No one has ever asked us this.
The great folks over at Japers’ Rink are running their own fundraiser for Saves for Kids to mirror Jose’s. The Knights wanted to do our part as well.
So, we’ve opened a little online store for folks who want to support the greatest winger ever acquired by the Caps in 2009 while also supporting Saves for Kids and Children’s National Medical Center. Head on over there to check out the shirts and buttons.
All of the proceeds from every item in the store will go to Saves for Kids.