You had to believe something like this was coming. After the NHL suspended Edmonton Oilers forward Matt Hendricks for three games following his dangerous hit on Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad on Jan. 10, Hendricks was due back for his first game Mondaynight.
And a little over four minutes into the first period, 6'5" Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson stepped up against Hendricks to settle the score.
Immediately after a face-off, Gudbranson and the six-foot Hendricks went toe-to-toe in an old-fashioned tilt.
The NHL Department of Player Safety does not take scheduling into account when suspending players so the fact that these two teams met in Hendricks’s first game back was nothing more than a coincidence. Nevertheless, fans of this type of old-school hockey got what they were after Monday night.