- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 10, 2011

When is a hat trick not a hat trick? When the NHL realizes Dennis Wideman was right all along.

Several hundred hats filled the ice at Verizon Center on Friday night as it looked like he had the first hat trick for a Washington Capitals defenseman since 2000 — but Wideman was adamant right away that the puck went in off Brooks Laich.

“It hit Brooksie’s leg and just went directly sideways in the net. I knew right away,” Wideman said Saturday. “I think you would’ve gotten a little bigger celebration out of me if it was actually my third goal.”

Wideman went to sleep Friday night with technically the first hat trick of his career but learned from reporters after Saturday’s practice that the league had taken it away. That wasn’t anything of a surprise to to the defenseman, who wanted to give credit to Laich from the start.

“It’s kind of an unwritten rule where if the players deserve it, you deserve it,” said coach Dale Hunter, who had one hat trick as a player with the Caps. “If they don’t, you don’t.”

Wideman believed honesty to be the best policy, even though he would’ve made some nice history.

“If you get one, you want it to be honest,” he said Friday night. “You don’t want a cheap one.”

So Wideman went about his business Saturday at practice but still had the best offensive night of his career against Toronto with two goals and two assists.

As for his blatant honesty about not recording a hat trick, his explanation a day later was simple.

“Good karma,” he said. “Good karma.”

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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