You know what’s the opposite of fun? Telling a veteran player whom you like that he isn’t in your plans for next season. Sometimes you’re ending a guy’s career in the process. Capitals general manager George McPhee had that talk with Mike Knuble and Jeff Halpern two weeks ago. Both are unrestricted free agents and will look for work somewhere else starting on July 1. Both are hopeful something will work out, but it makes for an uneasy summer.
Knuble is 40 and had noticeably slowed down last season. Halpern, 36, was a healthy scratch late in the regular season and for most of the playoffs until Jay Beagle broke his foot. Halpern then played in the final two games of the New York Rangers series.
“It’s never easy making those kinds of decisions. Obviously, they’re real good people,” McPhee said. “Jeff’s a local kid that we’ve liked since we saw him in college. And Mike Knuble should be in the good guy Hall of Fame. They just don’t come any better. But for those reasons…we felt it was right to let them know as early as we could so that they can prepare for their futures and decide what they want to do.”
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