There are certain prototypes of hockey players that are important to every good team: sniper, playmaker, and grinder. A very underrated prototype is the enforcer- the guy who won’t back down from a fight and who is not afraid to get into a fight, whether it’s to send a message to the other team or to shift momentum to his team’s favor. Matt Hendricks has quickly become the enforcer for the Capitals. With his high energy and his dedication to defending his teammates, he has quickly become a fan favorite in DC.
Matt Hendricks took a while to get his career started. He was drafted by the Nashville Predators in 2000. He began his AHL career in 2004 after graduating from St. Cloud State University. Due to injuries and other factors, he was not able to reach the NHL until the 2008-2009 season. The Colorado Avalanche were impressed with what he brought to the team, so in 2009, he finally came up to the NHL for good. In 2010, the Capitals invited him to training camp with no guaranteed spot on the roster. He was able to earn a roster spot and he’s been rocking the red ever since.
Hendricks, like most enforcers, is not the most gifted skater or hockey player. He is more talented than most enforcers though. And unlike most enforcers, he does bring things to the team other than his fighting ability. He’s a high energy player who is very scrappy. Most of his goals are not pretty, but a goal is a goal. Like most enforcers though, he is very prone to penalties: during the 2010-2011 season he had 110 penalty minutes in 77 games.
There are two things that I admire about Hendricks. First of all, he stands up for his teammates. Anytime someone lands a dirty hit on a Capital’s player, Hendricks will usually return the favor. I remember when Beagle got injured by Asham, Hendricks had to be held back several times from Asham. Secondly, he’s a very hard worker who has a lot of respect for the game of hockey. He showed his maturity by realizing that Asham felt horrible about the Beagle incident, and deciding not to fight him. Hendricks realizes how hard he had to work just to get into the NHL and the fact that he continues to work hard on a daily basis makes me respect him even more. He’s a man who simply would rather be doing nothing else than playing hockey.
I’ll leave you all with what you know you want to see: a Matt Hendricks fight with commentary from the Capitals crew! The commentary is pretty spot on.