By Allan Muir
It’s no wonder the hockey world went bananas over that amazing goal scored by the Sharks’ Tomas Hertl last week. What with suffocating systems and chip-and-chase ruling the day, conservative play rather than creativity, is the widest path to the NHL. And anything that veers from the straight and narrow, whether it’s a between-the-legs shot, a rules-testing spin-o-rama or some shootout parlor trick, is bound to generate some buzz.
But as curmudgeons from Adam Oates to Don Cherry proved, there’s always someone waiting to drop a “respect for the game” anvil on any player who has the skills, creativity and guts to try something truly special.
Shame on them for that.
Honestly, is a little extra personality and style really so bad? Of course not. That’s why we shouldn’t just encourage the sort of flash that Hertl displayed, but celebrate it . . . even if it means suffering through a little hotdogging every now and then.
Let’s free up the next generation of potential stars like Hertl to be as bold and original as they want to be. And let’s recognize the guys who’ve already proved that they’re more than worth the price of admission. I mean the players who can pull you out of your seat with a stunning burst of speed, a sweet dangle and a dazzling how’d-he-do-that? finish . . . or maybe something else that’s uniquely their own.
With those factors in mind, here are the 10 most exciting players in the NHL today.