TAMPA, Fla. | Matt Hendricks had a visceral reaction when he saw Erik Karlsson get cut by Matt Cooke’s skate blade. The Ottawa Senators defenseman and reigning Norris Trophy winner suffered a 70 percent tear of his left Achilles tendon and is done for the season.
Hendricks had his own experience dealing with a skate cut during his sophomore year at St. Cloud State. The Huskies were playing Alaska-Anchorage.
“The goalie was on his butt, legs spread out in a ‘V’ and the puck was between his legs, and I put my foot in there and tried to kick the puck out,” Hendricks recalled. “And I must’ve caught his heel with my own foot.”
It wasn’t intentional. Just some “dumb luck.”
“I went to the bench, I was in pain, tried to go [out for] the next shift, realized there’s something wrong, took my skate off on the bench and for the first time I saw that I was bleeding pretty bad,” Hendricks said. “I think the scariest part was I’m looking down at my skate and I don’t see anything wrong. And I feel a lot of pain from it but you can’t see it.”
Hendricks is more than 10 years removed from the incident, but he has a small scar on his right foot to show for it.
The 31-year-old forward has broken his nose playing hockey five times, including Tuesday night, but this was something different.
“It’s not like when you get cut on the face where you can immediately tell that there’s a problem,” Hendricks said. “So that’s scary.”