Mike Knuble is in rare company.
Tonight, Knuble will become one of the few players in Flyers history to skate in the Flyers’ final game of the season at the Wachovia Center as a member of the team and then play in the first game of the next season in that building as a member of the visiting team.
It must be a strange feeling.
“Like anyone who has played for another team,” Knuble told the Washington Post yesterday, “it's weird to go to the other end of the hallway. A lot of stuff will be the same, like between-whistle music and the anthem singer. It's all the stuff you're used to. I'll probably see some familiar faces. There will be probably be some people giving you grief and some people who will thank you for your time.”
Undoubtedly, many will thank him for his time spent here. Knuble had his most productive and consistent seasons as a Flyer, posting 221 points in 310 games.
You can get a look at him on the Caps’ second power play unit.
“I'm looking forward to trying to get a win there,” he went on to say. “I had a lot of good years there. It's one of those games you'll remember for a while. So I guess I'm glad we're getting it out of the way early.”
The Flyers will be ready for him. As Scott Hartnell told Frequent Flyers: “We’re going to hit him every chance we get.”
Nothing like a warm welcome back.
Here are some other things to watch for tonight:
Who will match up with Alex Ovechkin? How will the Flyers try to shut him down – overly physical play or constant shadowing? How does he impact the result?
- Does that leave Washington’s Mike Green alone at the point?
- How will Ray Emery perform in his first home start? Chris Pronger?
- Does James van Riemsdyk show any signs of drop-off in his play now that he is 3 games into his NHL career?
- How good is Washington? Can they legitimately challenge for the Stanley Cup?
- How does the Flyers’ so-far stellar penalty kill handle the Caps’ lethal power play?
- Do the Capitals have enough in net to really vie for a title?
Those are just a few things to keep in mind.
As promised, here is tonight’s lineup:
Lines are subject to change but Flyers coach John Stevens said that they would “more than likely” not.
Scratched: Cote, Asham . (Both healthy)
Remember: Tonight’s game is on Versus. Because of a contract dispute, DirecTV is not carrying Versus and the game will not be available there. It is only available on Comcast, Verizon FiOS or the DISH Network. If you don’t have those providers, check out your local bar or restaurant.
Follow me on Twitter.com/DNFlyers for updates throughout the game.