Matt Hendricks not fazed by broken nose, or anything else, really
A few days ago, Matt Hendricks’ nose was black, blue, purple and puffy, but now it is beginning to fade to a slightly yellowish tone. It is certainly not unusual to see Hendricks boasting a palette of bruises, and cuts on his war-torn yet youthful face.
Saturday’s mood in the locker room was light, and Hendricks said the Capitals had a hard but good practice session. As he elaborated on his latest battle scar, the crowd of media members around his stall grew as he spoke, and rightfully so. Hendricks, usually the strong-but-silent type, flashed his Midwestern charm to the burgeoning scrum around him, many leaving goaltender Braden Holtby as he held court a few steps away.
“It’s healing up. I can breathe a lot better, so that’s nice,” Hendricks said of his yellowish nose.
Hendricks fractured his nose during the Capitals game at the Florida Panthers on Feb. 12. He said the Panthers’ plastic surgeon performed a procedure to repair the damage.
“The septum broke, so they had to go in and pop it out,” Hendricks said. ”He could feel it, that it was floating.”
Yes, you heard that correctly. Hendricks’ septum was floating around in his nasal cavity. He said it was exacerbated by another nasal fracture he sustained during the NHL lockout that didn’t heal properly. Hendricks skated with members of the Wild and others while in his native Minnesota during the work stoppage.
“It’s been like that for a while,” he said. “It healed wrong, from the last time it happened. I got hit with a puck during the lockout and it kinda did the same thing, so I'm sure it healed, and then it broke again, and they were able to adjust it.”
How exactly does one “adjust” a floaty septum?
“They go from the inside,” he explained. “It hurts but they numbed it up pretty good, so it wasn’t bad. I’ve had it done before without Novocain, and that was terrible.”
The Novocain is injected “kind of like Botox, from what I’ve seen on TV,” Hendricks said, grinning. “Yeah, I get a lot of Botox,” he joked.
Hendricks is the Capitals' poster boy for facial injuries, having broken his nose at least five times in his career. He has clearly built up a tolerance for the pain. Oh, and he’s tougher than nails.
“It gets easier every time,” he said. “Cause you kind of know what’s coming.”
Breaking your nose five times may seem like quite a feat, but Ian Laperriere, now the Director of Player Development for the Philadelphia Flyers, fractured his a dozen times during his career, but Hendricks considers himself to be in good company. “Lappy had one of the best noses in hockey. I look at his nose, I look at [Tim] Hunter’s nose, and Adam Foote. He had a heck of beak on him.”
Hendricks chalks up his injuries to the type player he is and the style of game he plays. He is a gritty, defensive forward who isn’t afraid to play a tough, physical game, to give and take a lot of hits. He wears that trademark like a badge of honor.
“[It] means you get hit a lot,” he chuckled. ”There’s no secrets in my game, I get hit a lot.”