Last week, Matt Hendricks told Sportsnet that he’s 99% sure he won’t be returning to the Oilers next season. This totally makes sense to me: Hendo’s role in the lineup is slowly being filled by faster, more skilled guys. As much as it pains me to say this, his contract with the Oilers has come to an end and there is no longer a spot for him on the team. Matt Hendricks has always been one of my favourite guys on the team, and I figured we should all take a moment to show some appreciation to the big guy.
On January 15, 2014 Matt Hendricks was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for Devan Dubnyk. No, Hendo didn’t turn around the franchise when he joined, but he sure did add a veteran presence that we desperately needed. Hendricks even had a small offensive boost in his first full season with the Oilers, scoring eight goals. I repeat, EIGHT GOALS. Believe it or not, this is much more than he was used to scoring in the previous few years of his career.
He never produced many points, but one thing we can all agree on is that Hendricks worked his butt off non-stop no matter where he was in the lineup. Not many people seemed to show any care during the dark days, but Matt Hendricks always did. There’s a reason why Hendricks was nominated for the Masterton Memorial Trophy for his qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication three times in his career. Along with the Masterton nominations, Hendricks also captained Team USA to a bronze medal in the 2015 World Championships.
It’s really too bad that Matt can’t keep up with the speed of the game anymore, but his maturity shines through when you listen to him talk about it. He totally understands that his role with the team is over and that he has to move on. I encourage you to listen to Hendricks’ interview on the Real Life Podcast as he holds nothing back when telling the story of his career path.
Chris’ Favourite Matt Hendricks Moments
While we’re talking about how awesome Matt Hendricks is, I thought this would be a good time to go over a few of my favourite Matt Hendricks moments with him as an Oiler. Be sure to let me know in the comments what yours is.
“The Cup Incident”
— Matt Hendricks (@MattHendy26) January 22, 2016
For the rest of my life, whenever anyone talks about a jock strap, jock, cup, sports cup, or the male anatomy in general, my mind will immediately go to Matt Hendricks and the worst moment of his life. Yes, he survived and I’m thankful that we can all joke about this now, but at the time it was no joke. Taking a ~500mph slap shot to the nards is nothing to laugh about and it’s nothing short of a miracle he can still walk today. Calling him a warrior would be an understatement and frankly, there are no words that can describe the manliness he showed during “The Cup Incident.”
Where do I start with this whole fiasco? First of all, gotta love the random, mini Panthers/Oilers rivalry happening midseason last year. Anyways, all I remember is SOMEBODY (insert person’s name who I don’t remember) hit Taylor Hall into the boards on a dirty play and the hit went uncalled. What happens when someone lays a dirty hit on our star player? Matt Hendo steps up to the plate hitting THEIR star player.
Yes the hit was dirty, but I don’t even care. Somebody had to do something and Hendricks was the man to do it. Obviously somebody from the Panthers was going to step up and fight Hendricks for the hit, in this case it was Logan Shaw, and Hendricks wasn’t afraid. Matt ended up getting suspended three games for the hit, and Ekblad was hurt with an upper-body injury.
Flash forward eight days when Hendricks returns from his suspension and who do you think they’re playing? The Florida Panthers, of course. Eric Gudbranson is pissed and wants to punch Hendricks’ face into the ground. Everyone knows it’s coming; everyone knows Hendricks needs to answer for what he did to Ekblad. And that’s the way it went down.
It took less than a second into Hendricks’ first shift for him to drop the mitts with Gudbranson. For those wondering, Gudbranson has five inches and eleven pounds on Matt Hendricks, but did he shy away? Hell no. Hendo stepped up to the plate again like the classy individual he is, and got his ass beat by a huge monster. We can all look up to this type of leadership and class Hendricks shows. Over a year later and it still amazes me to watch the storyline play through these videos.
Even though this picture only came to fruition a week ago, we should all recognize and admire Hendo’s flow back in his glory days. What happened in his lifetime since then I do not know, but I truly wish he could somehow bring this back. I’m a little upset we never got to witness these locks flowing behind him as he skated up the ice.
— Matt Hendricks (@MattHendy26) June 17, 2017