Matt Hendricks knew Zbynek Michalek was coming, but he didn’t expect an elbow to the head. But, with his back turned and facing the boards, that’s what Hendricks got at the 8:36 mark of the second period Sunday.
“You try to put yourself in a good position to take hits and stuff, but at the same time I was a couple feet off the boards and going towards the puck,” Hendricks said. “I don’t think it was a clean hit, but he got an elbowing penalty for it, put us on the power play.”
Michalek got two minutes for elbowing but no further suspension or fine from the NHL, league spokesman confirmed.
It’s believed that no suspension or fine because Michalek’s knee buckled when hitting Hendricks’ butt, contributing to his losing his balance and lunging forward. It even seemed like the defenseman tried to catch Hendricks on the way down.
“It was a hockey play,” Michalek told reporters in Pittsburgh on Monday. “It was a hit, I guess from behind. I had my hands up, I guess.”
Caps forward Brooks Laich thought it was a hit from behind for sure.
“The way Matt got checked was a little bit on the back side,” he said.
Yet no supplemental discipline from the league. Asked about whether he thought Michalek deserved a suspension, Hendricks said: “I don’t know. I leave those decisions for the big guys in the league office.”
Hendricks reported being fine Monday. He didn’t miss a shift Sunday.
“I’m feeling good, ready to go,” he said.