When the San Jose Sharks‘ Tomas Hertl scored four goals against the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, there were a number of people who wrote him off as a flash in the pan who made too much of his moment of fame. Many of these people hated the way which Hertl scored a flashy fourth goal in the game, and were surely hoping with all their hearts that if they thought enough negative things about the 19-year-old sensation, that he would lose his magic touch.
After Hertl scored a goal 55 seconds into the Sharks’ 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night, it became clear that these hopes were for naught. The goal was nothing special by any means — in fact, it was a garbage goal — but what it did show was that even when he is not doing flashy things with the puck, Hertl will still contribute to the cause to win games.
Doing these dirty deeds can often be more important than any dangles that Hertl puts on in a blowout win, and only further signifies that this is a guy who knows how to and is willing to do all of the small things that win hockey games.
Throughout the entirety of the season, he has shown this willingness as he has thrown his body around in the corners, fought hard in the defensive zone and generally made life easier for linemates Joe Thornton and Brent Burns.
So for those people who believed that Hertl was just a flash in the pan, you’ve got it all wrong. Hertl is a hockey player in the truest sense, possessing the ability to go into corners and lay the body, fight in front of the net for pucks, throw the occasional open-ice hit or undress an opponent if the time is right.
Sure, he may be able to undress a defender with the best of them, but he shouldn’t be limited to being defined by this ability — not when he is so much more than just a skill player, and so much more than just a guy who is trying to show up his opponents on a nightly basis.