Well, this is a new one. D.C. fans have heard of being asked to take signs down at the presumed behest of owners (see Snyder, Daniel). But asking fans to take signs down at the behest of players who see them during warmups is something else again.
From the Washington Post's Katie Carrera:
The [two] signs [one reading 'Free Knuble,' another reading 'Scratch Hunter'] were clearly visible along the glass for the start of warmups but the Knuble’s Knights — who go by Sir Ryan and Sir Nathan (their real first names) — were then approached by an event staff member, along with two security guards, the fans said.
They were told that the "players asked us to make you take the signs down" and if they didn’t comply the signs would be confiscated and destroyed. The fans complied and were able to keep the signs.
Well then. A Caps spokesman later confirmed to Carrera that three players (names unknown at this point) saw the signs during warmups and asked that they be taken down.
Now ... players have a right to ask that signs and people who displease them be removed from arenas. It's no different from an actor getting annoyed at someone whose cell phone rings in the middle of a show.
However, on another level, we agree with Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo's Puck Daddy.
[T]he notion that Capitals players would be that concerned with critical placards at this stage of the season is an indication of how stressed, strained and drained the team has become during its lackluster campaign.
A playoff race is the time to keep your collective head down and your ears pinned back. On this evidence, it seems the Caps have been doing the exact opposite.
UPDATE: A certain Mr. Leonsis has chimed in.
Here is the short, simple truth: A couple of players saw a sign at ice level during warm-ups that they felt was disrespectful toward our coach. One of the players asked one of the bench personnel to see if he could get them to take it down. One of our arena employees thought he was being helpful, and asked the fans to take it down ... In actuality, the sign did not violate any of our policies (e.g., profanity, political, commercialism or obstruction) and should have been permitted. So we have reconnected internally with a variety of folks involved to clarify our position.