Most Americans probably don't know this, but hockey season has started. The NHL began its 2013-14 regular season on October 1, leaving many people to wonder who forgot to tell them that it is football season.
Regardless of whether one is a hockey fan or not, last night's performance by Tomas Hertl was one worth witnessing. Hertl, a 19 year old rookie from the Czech Republic, has had an outstanding start to the 2013-14 season. Last Saturday, Hertl scored 2 goals against the Phoenix Coyotes in his second ever NHL game. Apparently, though, that was not good enough for Hertl.
Last night at in San Jose, the Sharks player went for a hat-trick plus one (If there is a name for 3 goals in one night, shouldn't there also be a special name for 4 or 5?). Hertl became the youngest NHL player to score 4 goals in one game since Los Angeles Kings player Jimmy Carson in 1988. Hertl also tied the franchise record for the most number of goals in one game, and became the first San Jose Shark to score at least 6 goals in his first 3 games as a professional.
All in all, it was a historic night for Hertl. However, the before-mentioned numbers were not even the most impressive feats of the night. Hertl's first 3 goals of the night were fairly standard, by NHL standards. His 4th goal, however, has already received league-wide praise and is easily a candidate for goal of the year:
While many do not have an appreciation for hockey here in the good ol' US of A, one cannot deny that the gif above displays poetry in motion at its finest.
Sharks captain, Joe Thornton, commented on Hertl's spectacular goal: "That was special. You don't see that too often. That's something I don't have in my bag. That was pretty. It's been fun to watch him."
Chosen as the 17th overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft, Hertl had high expectations coming into the league. However, no one expected this level of talent so early: "I'm not even sure he realizes where he is. He's a passionate young man and he's playing freely," stated Sharks' coach Todd McLellan.
What did Hertl think of his performance last night?: "It's crazy. This is a dream. Four goals. I never [scored four] in the Czech League, I never had three. In the NHL, it's crazy."
Hertl youthful exuberance showed itself in full last night, with the 19 year old celebrating intensely after every goal, even though the game was a route. While some Rangers fans may have been upset at the celebrations, his coach simply attributes it to general excitement: "He's innocent out there. He scores the fourth goal and when it's 8-2 or 9-2 or whatever it was, it's probably not a real good celebrating time. But he's so innocent that he's excited about doing it and sometimes that passion is a good thing to have in our game."
Oh - and that other stat which is so impressive about last night's performance: Hertl scored all 4 goals in just 11 minutes and 12 seconds of ice-time. Hertl is only the 3rd player to accomplish such a feat.
To secure even mediocre success for the NHL in such a fantastic football season, let's hope Hertl continues to be so impressive.
Image via Twitter