When the officials escorted Matt Hendricks off the ice following a scrum with the New York Rangers' Michael Sauer Tuesday night, he appeared to be one third of the way en route to a Gordie Howe hat trick -- a fight, goal and an assist in one game.
Hendricks himself thought he had at least been given a 5 minute major for fighting, because little else would prompt the referees to guide him off the ice. Instead, Hendricks was given two minutes for roughing and because there weren't many whistles for the duration of the first period he wasn't able to return to the ice upon the realization of the minor penalty.
As the contest wore on, Hendricks would record his second goal of the season and an assist, for the first two-point game of his career. But he was one part short of the Gordie Howe hat trick because of the minor penalty after his fracas.
"No comment on that," Hendricks said when asked about the missed Gordie Howe hat trick. "But you can see the disappointment in my face."
The scuffle with Sauer was the result of Hendricks's first-period collision with former Capital Steve Eminger. Hendricks said he believed that Eminger tried to jump out of the way when he saw the Caps fourth-liner coming but neither completely missed the other. Eminger was writhing in pain on the ice afterward, but was back in the game in the second period.
AROUND THE WEB
Could the Calder Trophy go to another defenseman this year, say maybe John Carlson or Montreal's P.K. Subban? (Sports Illustrated)
Before giving the Calder race away to the blueliners, don't forget about the goaltenders. (Edmonton Journal)
Dave Lozo tries to answer why fans should trust the Washington Capitals' success this year. (NHL.com)