I think Knuble's last sentiment is the take-away in all this. "Guys will buy in if you get the results."
The Caps under Bruce Boudreau have been a high-energy, offense first juggernaut. Introducing elements of a completely different style of hockey than what he's always preached is a gutsy move, especially making the transition in the middle of the season like he has.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. Following that 7-0 loss to the Rangers, Boudreau must have felt it absolutely necessary to shake things up on the ice, and probably in the room as well. The switch gave everyone--the coaching staff included--something else to think about instead of the losing streak, and the Winter Classic, and the HBO cameras following them around all the time.
I don't think we can anticipate the Caps making a 180 degree turn in philosophy, becoming a defense first, conservative squad. It's not in Boudreau's--or his star player's--nature. But adaptation is critical in an 82-game regular season marathon, and the new wrinkles Boudreau has implemented give opposing coaches one more thing to think about when game-planning for the Caps.