Washington's Matt Hendricks is a bruiser, not a scorer. But the Capitals forward has discovered a secret weapon that renders goalies powerless, and he's been dominating shootouts this month relying on that same move every time. Pump fake, goalie goes down, easy score.
After breaking it out the first time against Evgeni Nabokov, Hendricks said of the pump fake:
"I learned it a long time ago back in high school from an old NHLer by the name of Scott Bjugstad. He scored about 50 goals in the league. I don't know. It's the only [shootout move] I got going for me."
Hendricks pulled it off again last night against Tim Thomas in the Caps' 3-2 shootout win over Boston, and Thomas, who has presumably seen the scouting tape, was furious at himself. But that pump fake, man, there's no stopping it. TV guy Craig Laughlin has dubbed the move the "Paralyzer," and Hendricks should enjoy it while he can. As Mats Zuccarello taught us, without variety, the effective lifetime of a shootout move is finite.