Goal scorers. Crease clearers. Hot goalies. They are all marketable stars in the NHL and you see their authentic and replica jerseys decorating the torso of fans in every arena.
But there are a healthy number of hockey faithful who may love the star power of an Alex Ovechkin or Mike Green, but tend to gravitate to the underdog, character guys on the team. These players may not get on the ice every game or even spend the entire year with the parent club, shuttling back and forth from the AHL.
But give them a shot here and there to be the “energy guy” or “antagonist,” and if they succeed in pestering another squad’s star, they are immediately propelled to cult hero.
The Washington Capitals have officially welcomed a potential player of that caliber to the organization with the signing of forward Matt Hendricks to a one-year contract after inviting him to training camp on a tryout basis.
It’s a little move in the grand scheme of things, but it is the trade for Jason Chimera last season, the trade for D.J. King this offseason and this signing that can help make the difference during crunch time for the offensively gifted Capitals.
I think each of these moves is a great step for General Manager George McPhee and adds the spices that have been missing from his award-winning Capitals recipe each spring in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Welcome, Matt Hendricks and it will be nice to see you in D.C. if the red, white and blue stars align that way this season.
At the very least, your interview on WashingtonCaps.com makes me appreciate your approach to the game.