Mike Knuble’s had a stellar 2009-10 campaign, but his offseason began earlier than he would have hoped after the Capitals crushing loss to the Montreal Canadiens in the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Taking to the ice a on Friday for the first time since his summer break, Knuble spent a couple of hours at Kettler Capitals Iceplex doing drills with fellow Capitals players Semyon Varlamov, Tomas Fleischmann, Boyd Gordon, D.J. King, and Jeff Schultz. He even found time to flip the puck back and forth with his young son who also made his way around the rink.
After the drills were over Caps Snaps talked to Knuble about his summer.
“When I was younger I used to skate all the time but now to be honest they’re some other thing I’d rather be doing in the summertime,” he said “I know I have plenty of time here and I can be much more productive with my time on the ice here with our players.”
Despite not lacing up skates for four months Knuble said they felt good during his first day back. “For us it’s kind of like riding a bike, it might be a little rusty and you get a little tired, more than anything but, your body catches up, it gets used to skating. It’s different, no matter what you do during the summer, you can run, you can bike, you can lift weights but nothing really duplicates skating, except skating,” he said.
After the 38 year-old winger left the Washington, DC area in June for his summertime residence in Michigan he started preparing for the season. Even without skating he had a demanding and structured regimen. On Tuesdays and Thursday he would do a sprinting program with his trainer. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday Knuble would lift weights and do cardio “to stay skinny”. “I take the weekend off. By Friday, I was pretty tired,” he recalled.
Knuble insisted that the notion of athletes taking the summer off and playing golf is not entirely true. “I don’t play enough golf… It’s a job, I mean you report to work, you know you’ve got to work in the morning, that’s how players have to treat it,” he said. There is no time to play your play into shape like they used to. You’ve have to come and be ready and that’s the way it is. Training camps are shorter and they is a lot more riding on the line. You don’t come in and play your way into shape.”
Despite his intense training Knuble still found time to relax this summer. “We just enjoyed the summer. It was warm,” he said. His kids waterskied and tubed on their summer vacation. “It’s a great change of pace and I like to cut off one year from the next a little bit so you kind of get out of town.”