Photo credit: Brian Babineau
Saturday afternoon against the rival Boston Bruins, a chippy game stayed somewhat calm until the end of the second period. That’s when Brad Marchand goaded Mike Ribeiro into his first NHL fight and all hell broke loose. Matt Hendricks responded by dropping the mitts with Bruins first-line forward Nathan Horton, bloodying his face.
In the third period after Hendricks exited the box, Bruins heavyweight enforcer Shawn Thornton asked Hendy to drop the gloves several times. The Blaine, Minnesota native refused. That’s when, as Karl Alzner described it, “the biggest joke I’ve ever seen” occurred. Thorton shadowed Hendricks, shoving him and begging him to drop his mitts. Then Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid cornered him along the boards, forcing Hendricks to pick one of them to dose-e-doe with.
So what did Hendy think of all the drama? Below are his full remarks after the Capitals’ morning skate Sunday.
Why did you fight Nathan Horton?
Horton and I seemed to be bumping into each other after every whistle. I don’t know if it was intended by him or intending as part of their game plan, but it seemed to happen and that’s part of hockey. That’s part of playing the Boston Bruins in Boston. It’s the way they play, and you’ve got to know that it’s coming.
Was Horton yelling at you during that face-off?
Yeah. I didn’t hear. I heard my name after the draw. I lost the draw. I was taking David Krejci to the net staying with my centerman and I heard him yelling my name. I looked up and saw him. And he was looking at me and asked me to go. That’s how it happened.
Did you get an explanation from the Bruins on why they both cornered you?
First of all, that’s Thornton’s job. That’s what he does. He’s paid to do that. That’s what makes him valuable in this league: he can play minutes, but he’s also a heavyweight enforcer. He’s a valuable asset. That’s their first-line right wing. It didn’t matter what happened there. I ended up getting the better of him in the fight and that’s the price you have to pay in a 4-1 game against them at home.
Karl was pretty unhappy that two guys came at you at the same time. How do you feel about that?
Thornton’s just doing his job. McQuaid’s giving me another option. In my opinion at that point in the game, I felt like ‘okay this is what I have to do at this point in the game.’ They wanted me to answer the bell for fighting their top line guy. And they know he asked me to go. Against them that’s what you have to do in those types of situations. McQuaid came over to give me another option. He knew I didn’t want to fight Thornton. The guy’s far out of my weight class. That’s justice to them.
Do you like the fact that [the Bruins] pick you to be the guy to answer to them?
I know that Adam doesn’t want me fighting. We’ve talked about that numerous times. The situation that happened last night, I just kept being slapped around after whistles, getting head-locked. Horton had asked for it a couple times. We didn’t go and then he gave me the opportunity after our number one point-getter Ribeiro gets goaded into his first NHL fight. It was a situation where I thought I had to do it. You know, you live with the repercussions of it. It’s part of the job.
Did you get a skill player because they got a skill player?
No, Marchand and Ribs match-up pretty well size wise. Not weight wise, but size wise. And for me, I think Horton wanted to fight.