May 10, 2012, 2:45 PM EDT
The next on that list? Could be Matt Hendricks.
We say “unlikely” because it’s a surprise Hendricks is even at this level. Nashville’s fifth-round pick in 2000, he was 28 when he became a NHL regular, the product of over 300 games at the ECHL/AHL levels.
But now he’s making the playoffs his coming out party. Hendricks leads the Caps in hits (57), faceoff percentage (57.4) and has two points…not bad, considering he had nine in 78 regular season games.
So, how has Hendricks become so successful? Teammate Brooks Laich has the answer.
“Cause he’s a — I don’t know if I can say it — he’s a prick on the ice,” Laich told the Washington Post. “You don’t want to play against a guy like that. You have to go through a lot to get the best of Matt Hendricks.
“He’s gonna compete, and he’s gonna do everything in his power to not let you do it. And he’s physical, and he’s strong, he plays hard minutes.”
Hendricks’ biggest asset might be his versatility. He’ll fight, he’ll hit, he’ll grind…but he’s also got some offensive flair, evident by his shootout prowess:
(Hendricks went 5-for-6 in the shootout this year and had three game-deciding goals.)
As Laich points out, Hendricks also likes to talk a lot.
“Gosh, my first impression was that this guy doesn’t shut up,” Laich said. “They very first [preseason] game I played with him was in Columbus and he ended up scoring a hat trick. I had never known the guy, we had been in training camp together for two days and before we went on the ice for this exhibition game — the first exhibition game of the year — this guy was just non-stop talking and I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I can take this.’”
That said, Laich has grown to appreciate what Hendricks brings to the table.
“To his credit, [Hendricks] has earned everything,” Laich said. “Nothing has been given to that guy, he’s earned it all.”
- MacKinnon, Johnson and Palat named Calder Trophy finalists 3
- Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series 38
- Rangers chase Emery, top Flyers for 2-1 series lead 54
- Bruins dominate Red Wings, take 2-1 series lead 42
- And then there were 15: Lightning eliminated 75
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (Game 3) 2
- Bettman says shootouts are staying, gives salary cap estimate 34
- Video: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question 48
- On Matt Cooke and whether he’s a ‘repeat offender’ 59
- Marleau, O’Reilly and St. Louis named Lady Byng finalists 20
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (127)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)