Why We Love Matt Hendricks

Posted July 1, 2013

Photo by Caps Outsider

What is it about hockey fans and attractions to 4th line players?

I wonder if it’s something to do with the fact that although these guys are super, super athletes (and would score 500 goals a game in your men’s league) they aren’t good enough to be elite NHL players. They’re almost professional hockey’s version of that kid who had to play right field in your little league because he wasn’t good enough to play anywhere else, so the fans can identify with that. They’re also usually the guys who generally “look” like they’re working the hardest, while also being the guys who do the majority of the fighting, agitating, shotblocking, “gritty” stuff that endears them to a more working class type of fan.

Matt Hendricks came to the Capitals on a tryout. He’ll likely be leaving now as someone who captivated the fanbase in his brief time here, Matt Bradley-style, being everything from a shootout phenomenon to someone who was willing to take on half the Boston Bruins. He had adorable twins.

I loved Matt Hendricks as a player. I even bought his jersey.

And I’m glad he’s not coming back.

Let’s face facts. Heartwarming stuff aside, Hendricks is a 32 year-old 4th liner with a questionable amount of years ahead of him (again, see Matt Bradley), and a limited amount of skill. Aaron Volpatti, while being terrible and someone who doesn’t kill penalties, is younger and cheaper. It’s just the business of hockey, especially with a capped out team and a shrinking salary cap. He’s a loveable hockey player and a player you love rooting for and love having on your team, but in the end, he’s 100% replaceable.

So farewell, Matt Hendricks. I hope someone grossly overpays you. I hope you stay in the league another 4 or 5 years. I hope you go out West and get to play in the playoffs and maybe even contend for a Stanley Cup. I hope another fanbase gets to enjoy the Paralyzer and making Tim Thomas lose his mind as much as we did. There will be other fourth liners we fall in love with, but you will always have your place in our hearts.

(Editor’s Note: Technically, Hendricks still could return, but the odds are very slim)

More favorite Matt Hendricks moments:

Favorite Hendricks photo #1: hendricks-photo

Favorite Hendricks photo #2:

hendricks twins