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Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Report Card: Matt Hendricks

Head down, skating hard.  As usual.
Today I bring you the twentieth installment in my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital throughout this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is checking center Matt Hendricks, who finished his first year in the organization this season.

Stats/Season Summary: Hendricks had avery good year offensively for a fourth-line player, tallying nine goals and 16 assists in 77 games.  He also collected a -2 rating and led the team in penalty minutes with 110 (most of these were fighting majors).  As I said before, Hendy saw most of his minutes in a limited fourth line role with occasional third line duty.  He also saw significant time on the penalty kill, and even got his kicks in with the man advantage, scoring a goal there.  He was by far the best and most versatile grinder I saw all season, and also managed to be rather consistent. Grade: B+
Role Play: When you're brought in on a flyer like Hendricks was, your job is to show up, work hard, and provide a spark for your team.  Hendricks fit this bill perfectly, giving the Capitals a shot in the arm all season and never being afraid to go out and fight the other teams' biggest and toughest guys.  He played all three positions on the fourth line and really was exactly the kind of player that the Caps were missing last year.  He did exactly what he was needed to do flawlessly, and exceeded all expectations for him. Grade: A
Playoffs: Hendricks did not have a good playoffs, being held pointless in seven games (he was a healthy scratch for two) and compiling a -2 rating and four PIMs when he did play.  He looked overmatched in both series for some reason and just struggled; maybe it was because of how much he played during the regular season and he was just tired from never doing it before.  But again, it's hard to pin the bad showing on him when everyone else was brutal too. Grade: C-
Future Potential: Hendricks was rewarded for his breakout year with a two-year contract extension during the winter, and don't expect him to go anywhere for the foreseeable future.  He is a desirable player because of his grit, versatility, and ability to score some, and the Caps need more people like him.  This is one of my favorite findings that the Caps have ever made, and he should be a regular for a long time. Grade: B

The next report card will be posted on June 3 and will feature center Marcus Johansson.

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