The last stop on the current Oilers road trip is a homecoming for a couple of veterans and linemates, as Matt Hendricks and Boyd Gordon each played for the Washington Capitals earlier in their careers.
Hendricks suited up for the Caps for three seasons between 2010 and 2013, while Gordon played in Washington a little earlier, starting his NHL career there in 2003 and spending seven years with the organization. Hendricks and Gordon both played on the 2010-11 Caps squad that finished first in the Eastern Conference during the regular season but bowed out to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the playoffs.
Following a strong WHL career with the Red Deer Rebels, Gordon was selected in the first round (17th overall) by the Caps and spent his first three seasons up and down between the NHL and AHL before becoming a full-time big leaguer in 2006-07. He set a career high in points that year with 29 and appeared in 36 post-season games during his tenure with Washington.
“It’s good to be back,” Gordon said following Monday’s Oilers practice at the Caps facility in Arlington, Virginia. Since it’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, many hockey fans took advantage of the holiday to watch the Caps and Oilers practice, so Gordon was frequently approached by locals who welcomed him back to the city.
“I played here quite a while and met a lot of great people and teammates. Any time I come back it’s always pretty special for me. I really enjoyed my time here, really nice city. There’s a lot of great history, which is something I enjoyed while I was here.”
Hendricks also had his most productive offensive season as a member of the Caps, as he put up 25 points in 2010-11. He too built a nice post-season resumé, appearing in 28 playoffs games. And while Hendricks didn’t play quite as along in Washington as Gordon, he echoed his teammates sentiments about their former city.
“It was a great time playing here, great fan base and great organization,” Hendricks said. “I played on some real good teams, teams that challenged in the playoffs, and made a lot of great friends. I had my kids here, they were born in Virginia over at the hospital, so it brings back a lot of great memories. It’s a great place to live.”
Both Oilers also agreed they’d like to close out the trip with a W against their old squad.