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By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
Topic - Matt Hendricks
The Edmonton Oilers used a late-power-play goal to get a hard-fought road victory.
The Nashville Predators made a move Wednesday trying to improve at goaltender while Pekka Rinne continues recovering from hip surgery that has kept him out since late October.
Marty Erat, Joel Ward and Matt Hendricks will all be facing their former teams tonight when the Predators visit the Capitals [7 p.m., CSN].
One thing the Caps don't have to do is wonder if they made the right decision to keep 19-year-old Tom Wilson on their roster. A small sample size to be sure with only four games, but Wilson is giving them their money's worth so far.
They are two moves that are on opposite ends of the star power spectrum. The line for Lecavalier will be long, with good reason. It will be a "splash" signing. The return of Hendricks may go unnoticed by all but the diehard fans. It may be as important as any big move the Caps might make.
Because the Washington Capitals were done before the final horn in Game 7 Monday night, those watching had some extra time to contemplate general manager George McPhee's work this offseason. But after the Caps became the only NHL team to make the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the past six years and not reach at least the conference finals, don't expect much to look different when they open the 2013-14 season.
Adam Oates walked into the locker room after the Washington Capitals' final regular-season game Saturday night and told captain Alex Ovechkin he wanted to meet with players after they spoke to reporters. The coach wanted to make sure his guys were prepared to face the New York Rangers in the playoffs beginning Tuesday. The only problem is the Caps and Rangers' Eastern Conference quarterfinal series starts Thursday, not Tuesday, throwing the variable of extra rest into the equation.
With one more game left that has no bearing on their seed, the Caps are left to wonder whether they'll face the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs or New York Islanders in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when they begin next week.
Growing up playing hockey, Matt Hendricks remembered the kind of language he would hear. It wasn't always appropriate. "Words were probably thrown around a little bit too loosely," the Washington Capitals forward said.
At 2-8-1 on Feb. 8 there was reason for doubt, same thing March 20 after a devastating loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins that put the Caps nine points back of the Winnipeg Jets. But one man didn't lose faith in the Caps: the rookie head coach whose positivity in the lean times so often ran opposite the trend of losing.
On Tuesday night he missed his 34th game of the year, and there's no telling when the 29-year-old forward will return. It might not be this season.
Hendricks took a glove to the eye from Hurricanes forward Tim Brent as some pushing and shoving was going on. His vision was "a little disrupted" and he saw spots, but drops and a contact lens allowed him to continue about his business.
That's why they didn't trade impending free agent center Mike Ribeiro or gritty forward Matt Hendricks. And that's why the Caps traded highly touted prospect Filip Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for top-line winger Martin Erat just before Wednesday's trade deadline.
Hendricks had six fighting majors through the Caps' first 27 games, more than the rest of his teammates combined. He fought twice Saturday at the Boston Bruins in a game that underscored how much this team needs Hendricks to answer the bell when opponents take liberties.
The Capitals were bruised and battered after the whistles and between them got blown out of the building 4-1 by the Bruins. Goaded into fights and involved in a lot of pushing and shoving, they fell into the trap of playing Boston's physical style.
"I know Adam doesn't want me fighting," Hendricks said. "We've talked about that numerous times."
"I felt, 'OK, this is what I've got to do at this point in the game,' " Hendricks said. "They wanted me to answer the bell for fighting their top-line guy, and I think they know that he asked me to go. But against them, that's what you've got to do in those situations."