The Bruins’ Nathan Horton was yelling at the Capitals‘ Matt Hendricks following a faceoff late in the second period Saturday afternoon. The two had already spent the better part of 40 minutes sparring with each other. So with an open invitation to drop the gloves, Hendricks obliged even though he knew the Bruins wouldn’t be keen on him fighting a top-line player.
“He wanted to go, “ said Hendricks, who didn’t speak to reporters following the Capitals’ 4-1 loss in Boston but explained his view of all the extracurricular activities with the Bruins on Sunday. “You do it and you live with the repercussions. I figured they would be looking for me once the score got to 4-1.”
Hendricks knew what was coming when Shawn Thornton was put out for a faceoff in the third period but he had no intention of fighting the Bruins’ heavyweight, who is in a different weight class altogether.
“Adam McQuaid came over, gave me a second option and in that situation I felt like, all right, this is one of those times when you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to drop the gloves,” Hendricks said. “They wanted me to answer the bell for fighting their top-line guy even though he asked me to go and that’s the way they play. They’re a tough team all the way through the lineup.”
Hendricks appreciated his teammates’ disapproval of how the pair of Bruins enforcers cornered him on the ice, but given the circumstances Hendricks said that McQuaid essentially did him a favor by jumping in and ensuring he wouldn’t have to fight the more imposing Thornton.
“Could the officials have done something different? Probably. They could have stepped in, blown a whistle and broke that up,” Hendricks said. “But if McQuaid doesn’t come in there then I’ve got Thornton all over me and the refs are going to get forced to blow the whistle because he’s going to do something not smart. As dumb as it sounds, it’s probably good that McQuaid came over to give me another option.”
As for Brad Marchand goading Mike Ribeiro into a fight, Hendricks said he didn’t see exactly how the play developed but knows that is a large part of the pesky Boston forward’s game.
While fights are a part of hockey and Hendricks being forced to drop the gloves for a scrap against a top-line player isn’t unusual, he acknowledged that the Capitals did get a little caught up in all of the extracurriculars.
“We don’t want to be caught up in that,” Hendricks said. “Fighting happens but we don’t want to get caught up in that, we don’t want our No. 1 point scorer in fights. We don’t want him in the penalty box for five minutes and those are the kind of things we have to avoid but the other stuff happens.”