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Knuble unsure if he will return to Flyers

Mike Knuble was packing up his family and getting ready to drive to his new home in Michigan. It's what the Flyers' winger does every summer. He is, after all, a native of Kentwood, Mich., and his family is still there.

Mike Knuble was packing up his family and getting ready to drive to his new home in Michigan.

It's what the Flyers' winger does every summer. He is, after all, a native of Kentwood, Mich., and his family is still there.

"I have a new house out there," he said yesterday morning.

And it's the only new house Knuble wants to deal with right now.

That might or might not play out for him. The soon-to-be 37-year-old winger - his birthday is Saturday - is an unrestricted free agent seeking a long-term contract that will keep him on the same team through the end of his career.

Today is the first day of free agency and this is when he could find out where he will be living next season. The Flyers have said they want him to stay in Philadelphia, but as of yesterday morning nothing had been worked out.

"It's been really a long process," he said. "With Philadelphia, it's going right down to the wire. So we'll see. I know everyone is going to talk again later [yesterday]. I guess we still have 24 hours.

"For me it's been a lot of talking, a lot of thinking, contemplating. It's been pretty long."

It could be worse. At 37, he could be one of those guys who don't have any market value left. But in Knuble's case, his best years in the NHL have been his last 4 years here, and the 2 before that in Boston.

In each of those seasons, Knuble has scored more than 20 goals. He had 27 goals and 20 assists last season, and had a home on the Flyers' power play as the big body in front of the net.

He is also a balanced, mature veteran who adds stability and leadership in a young locker room.

According to reports, there has been interest in his services in Boston, Pittsburgh and several other cities. And that was Knuble's plan.

"My goal coming into this year was to even have a chance," he said. "I wanted to be wanted at the end of the season and I felt I had a good enough year to do that.

"My No. 1 goal is to try and sign back in Philadelphia, but at the same time you have to play well so that if things didn't work out in Philly, I wanted to still have a chance to play somewhere else . . .

"So we're still working on it. I would love to stay here. I know that things have changed. For a lot of the spring I always heard how tight we were to the [salary] cap and then we brought in Chris Pronger. I realize how much things change. Homer [general manager Paul Holmgren] has his work cut out for him with this salary cap."

Holmgren has said that he wants to re-sign Knuble, but he has cap issues.

After the trade for Pronger, the Flyers' cap situation is tighter. And the Flyers still don't have a backup goalie signed.

"We have some holes to fill," Holmgren said. "I have said all along that Mike is a guy that we want to bring back and Mike has said the same thing to me."

However this works out for Knuble, he does not sound concerned and knows that there are teams who are interested.

"I don't know how much I'm supposed to talk about, how much you can say about certain teams or whatever," Knuble said. "Like I said, my goal at the end to the year was to have a team that wanted me.

"I guess I will have to wait to see what teams are serious."

Bobby Ryan gets invite

Cherry Hill native and Anaheim forward Bobby Ryan is one of 34 American players invited to U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp from Aug. 17-19, at Seven Bridges Ice Arena in Woodridge, Ill.

The camp is essentially the first step in the process of picking the team that will compete for the United States in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. *

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