How much of an impression did Matt Hendricks leave on the Capitals in the three years he played here?

Enough to spend an entire night fist-pumping wise-cracking hand shaking and body slamming his former teammates.

After playing his first game against the Caps since signing with the Predators on July 5 Hendricks was literally the last player on the team bus out of the VerizonCenter parking lot stopping to share hugs and a few laughs with everyone from the Capitals’ training and equipment staff to security personnel at the arena.

“It was fun to see all the guys” Hendricks said after the Capitals’ 4-1 win Wednesday night. “But when the game starts there’s all these emotions.

“One of my best buddies is [Caps defenseman] Karl Alzner. I know it’s preseason but the puck’s dumped in his corner. Do I want to run him? It’s kind of my job so I gotta do it. But you think about it.”

So what did Hendricks do? He yelled “Heads up” before plowing Alzner into the boards. Not once or twice but three times.

“It’s second nature for me” Hendricks said. “You gotta be a pro and you’ve got to do what you’re paid to do.”

“That’s Hendy” Alzner said. “Everybody loves him.”

After the game Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was one of the first Capitals to meet with Hendricks in the hallway that separates the two locker rooms.

“It feel kind of weird” Ovechkin said. “I skate by the bench and see his face joking around. I talk to him before the game on the ice. He was a great player here a great teammate and we have good relationship.

“He have good relationship with everybody. Of course we miss him but it’s a business and we wish him good luck out there. I hope he’s gonna do well.”