Matt Hendricks plays through scratched cornea; Capitals send Nate Schmidt to Hershey

April 4, 2013

(Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

 

Matt Hendricks has had plenty of bumps and bruises over his career as a hockey player. For him, a broken finger or a broken nose is routine and stitches are commonplace.

But there are still a few things that can give even Hendricks pause, like when he took a glove to the face in the second period of Tuesday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

When Tim Brent’s mitt scratched the cornea in his left eye, Hendricks lost his vision for a few minutes but after receiving treatment from the Capitals training staff he managed to return to the game. Wednesday he took part in practice no worse for wear.

“I still feel it; it feels a little sore and a little burning sensation in there. But for the most part I’m good. It was probably more scary than anything,” Hendricks said after Wednesday’s skate.

“It was a little nerve-wracking. I couldn’t see anything out of it right away,” Hendricks said. ”Kind of like somebody poked you in the eye real good and you kind of see black here. But it came back quickly and I was able to play, and that’s all that really matters.”

Hendricks said after the initial disruption in his vision he saw spots but a contact lens and eye drops helped it return and allowed him to get back on the ice in Carolina. He skated only four shifts in the final two periods of Washington’s 5-3 win over the Hurricanes but there shouldn’t be any lingering effects of the scratch.

In addition to the usual trade deadline day activity Wednesday there were a few housekeeping matters for the Capitals.

>> All NHL teams are now allowed to exceed the 23-man roster maximum, but they’re limited to only four recalls from the trade deadline until the conclusion of the regular season. In the playoffs, teams can call up as many players as it wants but only three can be in the lineup simultaneously.  Keep that in mind for all roster moves down the stretch.

>> The Capitals used one of their four allotted recalls Wednesday in a paper transaction to assign and then immediately recall defenseman Steve Oleksy from Hershey. Oleksy never left Washington, but it’s a transaction that allows him to be included on the AHL’s clear day roster and thus makes him eligible to play in the Calder Cup playoffs if necessary.

>> A day after signing free agent college defenseman Nate Schmidt to an entry-level deal, Washington assigned the former Minnesota Golden Gopher to Hershey. General Manager George McPhee said the Capitals wanted to make sure Schmidt was playing and for now that will be in the AHL.

“We like him a lot. Real good player, sort of the guy we targeted this year,” McPhee said. “We wanted to get him on the clear-day list in Hershey so he could play there. He’s got terrific speed, the ability to run the power play. Those are pretty valuable attributes.”

>> Schmidt isn’t the only defenseman McPhee wants to make sure gets plenty of playing time. He assigned Dmitry Orlov and Tomas Kundratek to Hershey Tuesday with the same thing in mind, that they’re better served by getting game action.

“They’re really part of our team, but I don’t want them just watching here,” McPhee said. “Might as well keep them playing and when we need them we’re ready to go.”

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Lindsay Applebaum · April 4, 2013

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