Matt Hendricks: Unsung Hero of Game Five

hendy-ouch

While Mike Ribeiro got all of the accolades after scoring the OTGWG to give the Caps a 3-2 series lead Friday night, a few other Capitals gave valiant performances as well. One of those players was checking-line forward Matt Hendricks, who, in just 9:42 of ice time, blocked seven New York Rangers shots, a game high. He also had four hits.

Last year, after the Caps beat the Bruins in the first round of the playoffs, I spoke to Hendricks about his role as a wagon, a guy who sacrifices his body and does all of the little things to win.

“We’re more the role players, the guys who take pride in their niche on their team that doesn’t really revolve around scoring and putting up points,” Hendricks said nearly a year ago. “But we love our job, we love to be the guys in the trenches, blocking shots, paying the price at those times of the games to win.”

Hendricks continued, “When it comes down to the bumps and bruises, we have a lot of equipment on, but there’s a lot of soft areas in that equipment. Pucks do hit there a lot when you’re blocking them, sticks and slashes — it leaves you pretty banged up.”

On Friday, just two minutes into the game, Hendricks blocked a Dan Girardi shot with his right ankle. The Capitals forward struggled to the bench after the puck was cleared down the ice and winced in pain. Three minutes later, during Hendricks’ next shift as a penalty killer, he blocked two more shots. All in all, Hendricks would block six shots in total during the first period. Here’s a look at six of the seven shots he blocked on the night.

Block 1

Blocks 2 and 3

Blocks 4 and 5

Block 6

Ouch. No, I don’t know how he’s still able to stand up either.

Unfortunately for Hendy, he did not receive a respite at practice on Saturday morning. While the team was doing drills, The Paralyzer took a puck to the face.

 

No big deal, he came back and kept practicing.

This time of year, to win and advance, you must sacrifice your body and be tough. Luckily for the Capitals, their fourth line winger is as tough as nails.

wagon-tshirt-callout

Videos via welshhockeyfan

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  • Dani

    Awesome! Love this article and love Hendy. He’s one of those guys with Heart.

  • Robert

    We need more guys like Hendricks.

  • jeremiah

    he needs a long term contract. that is all really

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=672640541 Mike Rucki

    Nice work, Ian. I was counting those blocks out loud to my seatmates at the game — “There’s a block by Hendy… there’s another!”

  • Hendybobendy26

    Love wagon number 1! His grit, heart, & determination are what cemented him as my favorite player!! Doesn’t always score, but sticks up for the boys!! Resign Hendy!!!

  • IarePoopFace

    Did it bother anyone else that Ovie didn’t have his jersey tucked in after it fell out…

  • http://www.facebook.com/sabrina.e.hicks Sabrina Hicks

    Love Hendricks. He’s totally committed: to the game and his team. I like the way he stood up for Tom Wilson in that last game, when (I think it was) punk Boyle tried to rough him up a little.

  • Akay15

    I love Hendy! I remember during the HBO Caps/Pens Winter Classic series, he mentioned how he had to really earn his spot on the team, especially through fighting. I love his heart, he’s one of my absolute favorites!

  • Emily Casto

    Hendy is a true Hockey Player. I’ve always said that everytime you see him he’s got a shiner. Thanks for recognizing his unselfish and unrelenting work for our team.