Different game, same story for Tomas Hertl. Well, we aren’t sure how many points he’ll score for the San Jose Sharks against the Detroit Red Wings tonight, but the game isn’t a period old yet and he’s already skated directly into a massive body check. More so than anything the youngster needs to work on, he needs to learn to watch out for himself.
In the instance this evening, Hertl tried to chip the puck by Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith, who played the body instead of the biscuit. It was borderline interference, but the teenager can’t be putting himself in the position to get blown up in every contest he plays in.
— The Wheel Deal (@Bill_Roose) October 21, 2013
He’s got a target on his back as a goal scorer at the moment, and the opposition isn’t going to hesitate to lay some weight on him whenever they can. It’s the third or fourth time over the last few games where Hertl has skated head first into a check that was coming from in front of him.
He may be focusing too much on where he wants to go and do. That may be the only reasonable explanation, because Hertl really doesn’t seem to look down at the wrong times or admire his passes. It’s probably just a matter of a young player learning the rigors of the NHL, but he’s only another few games away from a serious injury if he keeps playing like he has been.
The areas in front of the net and in the slot are tough places to make a living. That’s why the players that go there are so successful while the guys that play to the periphery are constantly grilled. Still, there’s a way to go charging to the center of the ice and a wrong way, and right now Hertl has his arms wrapped around the wrong approach.
Being accidentally reckless is one of the top ways for players to get injured at this level of hockey, and Hertl needs to understand this.