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PRINCIPE: Edmonton's 'Hendy' Man

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers

It serves players and people well to be able to do more than one thing well.

The more you can do, the more reason your employer (team) has reasons to want to keep you around. It is also a great benefit to those that you work with because of an individual's ability to accomplish various tasks.

The definition for 'Handyman' is a man who does small jobs, somebody who is skilled at doing, or paid to do, small jobs such as household repairs. In the case of the Edmonton Oilers they have a 'Hendy' man, who is willing to do both small and big jobs as he helps repair a team.

I must admit I did not know a lot about Matt Hendricks when, on the afternoon of January 15th, Edmonton traded Devan Dubnyk to Nashville. I recognized the name, but didn't really have a good handle on his game. Familiar with him, but only to a certain point, I had to do a little checking to have my memory jogged a little further.

It was easy to find out that his stats line read Hendricks had played for Colorado, Washington and Nashville in his NHL career or that he had skated in 307 games and compiled 29 goals,62 points and 419 penalty minutes prior to his Edmonton arrival. He also was a Minnesota native who stood 6-foot tall, weighed 211 pounds and was drafted by Nashville in the 5th round back in 2000.

That's what you can read about Matt Hendricks. But it's what you see from Matt Hendricks that shows you why he was acquired by Edmonton General Manager Craig MacTavish. The first impression when he arrived in Minnesota for his first game with the Oilers was his positive upbeat personality. A whirlwind 24 hours it may have been, but Hendricks was all smiles. A welcomed addition of positive energy. That wasn't a 'put on' positivity. Every day seems like a good day in the 32 year olds world. Even if he had to leave his wife and twins back in Nashville, it wasn't going to stop him from making an impact. He's done that in less than 3 weeks.

Against Buffalo he scored the game-winning goal. It was his second goal in nine games with the Oilers. He had two goals in his first 44 games with the Predators this season. The offence has been nice, but where the winger has really made his mark is simply with his presence.

It's noticeable whether he's in a scrap, being talkative with the other team’s goalie (I wonder what he said to Nashville's Carter Hutton?) or, more importantly, using words on his team. When Hendricks scored his first goal vs. Phoenix, what impressed me more was his work during a television timeout. He was chatting on the bench, patting guys on the shin pads and pumping the tires (sorry Roberto) of his teammates. That's not an easy thing to do when you're new to a team but Hendricks has done it well. His attitude and approach has been appreciated.

There are many jobs to be done or roles to be filled as the renovation of the Edmonton Oilers continues. They won't have to go out and hire or acquire too many more people, thanks to having their own 'Hendy' man in Matt Hendricks.

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