The NHL is back, this time in the much preferred “82-game season” version. “Who cares?” you might say, “I have 11 games left in the NFL regular season to try and make a comeback in my fantasy football league. I can’t be bothered with other sports!”
Well sir, A 19-year old rookie for the San Jose Sharks might change your mind after you watch the fourth goal (yes fourth – that’s a “hat trick” plus one) he scored on the New York Rangers last night.
It’s already being touted as the “goal of the year” by hockey media bigwigs like Barry Melrose and it certainly seems like that sentiment could stand up despite a whole 95% of a season left to go. The goal was Hertl’s 6th of the year so far in only 3 games, giving him the early goal scoring lead among not just rookies but all players. Hertl, a native of the Czech Republic, is already being compared to his countryman Jaromir Jagr, one of the sports most dynamic scorers of the last two decades.
The SportsCenter top play of the night put the sharks up 8-2 on their way to a 9-2 rout, so a victory was already well in hand for the Sharks, allowing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl to attempt such a trick shot without the game’s decision hanging in the balance. Still, such a display of skill and youthful exuberance is a welcome sight not only to the Sharks but for the NHL marketing department as a whole. With players like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, while still in their prime, becoming more veteran leaders than the young kids we remember from the 2005-2006 draft it’s great to see that young talent is once again rising through the system. Lockout madness of 2012 notwithstanding, the future of the NHL is bright.