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Tomas Hertl’s Hot And Cold Debut Revealed How Bruce Cassidy Intends To Use Him

(Photo from of @GoldenKnights on Twitter)

The long-awaited debut of Tomas Hertl finally came last night and it was a bit of a mixed bag for the Czech.

Hertl logged a massive 20:20 on 21 shifts in his first game as a Golden Knight including time on the power play, penalty kill, and a pair of mega shifts (1:45 and 2:05) down the stretch with Vegas chasing the game-tying goal.

I wasn’t bad, but I know I will be better. After 10 weeks sometimes I lost my legs or a couple of easy pucks and hopefully that won’t happen moving forward. But it was nice to be back on the ice. -Hertl.

Despite starting, and playing most of his time, on the left wing with Chandler Stephenson and Michael Amadio, Hertl was active in the faceoff circle. He took eight faceoffs and won five of them. This was the first place in which we saw a true specialist utilization of Hertl by Bruce Cassidy.

With 3:47 left in the game, following a TV timeout, and VGK trailing by one, Cassidy created a super-line of Hertl, Jack Eichel, and Jonathan Marchessault. Hertl went into the circle to take the faceoff but was tossed out by the lineman for an apparent false start. Eichel lost the ensuing draw to J.T. Miller and the line was unable to generate anything offensively.

Hertl’s next shift came after a Vegas timeout with 1:55 to go. Logan Thompson had been pulled which allowed Cassidy to deploy as offensive a lineup as possible with the empty net. Hertl, Eichel, Marchessault, Stephenson, Ivan Barbashev, and Noah Hanifin hopped over the boards for a five-foward line. Hertl won a draw, then lost one after an icing, then won another after a stoppage, then won another after a hand pass, then won another after an icing. In the final two minutes of the game, he won four out of five faceoffs to give VGK a ton of zone time late in the game.

Another surprise element to Hertl’s debut was his usage on the penalty kill. Cassidy deployed Hertl for 2:15 of penalty kill and unfortunately, it did not go well. Partnered with Stephenson or Karlsson, Hertl was on the ice for both of the Canucks’ 1st period power play goals.

The power play involvement was less surprising. Hertl played 3:52 of PP time mostly as the net front on a unit with Eichel, Marchessault, Stephenson, and Hanifin. The group was able to get four shots on goal but generated just 0.29 expected goals and zero high-danger chances.

Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet had a clear plan of what he wanted to accomplish when Hertl was on the ice. The line of Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, and Nils Hoglander shared the ice with Hertl for eight of Tomas’ 12 minutes at 5-on-5. That group shut Hertl and Co. down winning the expected goals battle 0.81 to Vegas’ 0.01.

The strongest positive in Hertl’s debut was his ability to help the Golden Knights generate high-danger chances at even strength. The three VGK got with Hertl on the ice gave him the highest rate of offensive danger of any Vegas skater.

All in all, his debut will be highlighted by a secondary assist off a faceoff win along with drawing a penalty early in the 2nd period. It’s clear to see his impact on the Golden Knights will be significant in all situations and at the faceoff dot.

There are better days to come results-wise for Hertl, but rest assured he had fun out there wearing gold instead of teal because, in the end, fun must be always.

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32 Comments

  1. John W

    As the game went on, I thought Hertl looked more comfortable, and the face off wins were impressive.

    I of course want the playoffs to go well, but I will be fascinated to find out what Mccrimmon plans to do in the off season. Hertl has certainly changed that calculus. Has Mantha shown enough to deserve some of our precious cap space? Will we trade a few defenders to pay forwards, and rely on Hutton and Korzcak? Is keeping Stephenson a luxury we can’t afford? Do we say goodbye to Carrier and Howden to keep Amadio?

    Going to be interesting, but it is clear that Cassidy values, and will be featuring Hertl.

    • knights fan in minny

      mantha wont be back

    • Emmanuel

      Has Mantha shown enough to deserve some of our precious cap space?
      NO
      Will we trade a few defenders to pay forwards, and rely on Hutton and Korzcak?
      MAYBE
      Is keeping Stephenson a luxury we can’t afford?
      YES
      Do we say goodbye to Carrier and Howden to keep Amadio?
      YES. But why keep Amadio?

    • TS

      Keep Stephenson! The others mentioned are movable pieces.

  2. Emmanuel

    There are better options on the PK than Hertl, puzzling…..

  3. vgk21

    I disagree with Cassidy using Hertl on the Pk, that is NOT his strong suit at all. cost the Vgk 2 goals to find out.

    and William Karlsson should be out there on the 6 on 5 with goalie pulled, in place of Stephenson, who is too much a perimeter passer and does not shoot.

    • ThG

      no 20 was on 6/5 due to his high face off win rate (over 70%) but coach opted to use Hertl instead he didn’t do as well in last stages of the game.

      For those faceoffs “won” by Hertl, they were “won” poorly.

      Hertl even admitted he had issues staying on the puck, I don’t know if that is related to not having played in a long time or due to his surgery or something else. Time will tell.

      • ThG

        i posted as much on other article (before this article came out) , sometimes it pays to watch and see exactly what is going on , on the ice. Instead of sitting back in their lazy boy and switching back and forth between the baseball game or “Enter the DRagon movie (Bruce Lee) on Bounce channel 23.6 which was playing at same time.

        • NAM

          Nobody can watch a game like this guy. He is the best game watcher since Tom “Stare Hard” Johnson in 1957. ThG doesn’t miss any thing and all other hockey observers pale in comparison.

          • Emmanuel

            Enter the Dragon is #2 on my all time list after ‘the Streetfighter”.

          • NAM – you obviously don’t believe or realize what you are posting!!!! thg already believes he is GOD’S gift to creation; he sure doesn’t need you patting him on the back. For all his observations I would bet there are dozens who see whatever he posts differently.

          • TS

            Nam, I do agree on thg. He’s a pretty sharp guy. Snarky but knowledgable. Now, don’t let him know that…he’s already a God! NOW, if only the politics would go away….
            .

          • NAM

            Maverick71/TS, apparently my deep sarcasm has completely been overlooked.

  4. knights fan in minny

    mcdavid the whiner dtd

  5. Arthur

    Who is acting captain of the team?

    • Earl the Replanted Transplant

      There is no acting captain, there are alternate captains, Eichel, Karlsson, and Petro are alternate captains for the VGK. Sometimes a player, in addition to those above, may come into the locker room and find an “A” sewn on their sweater. Usually Butch does this when the VGK are playing in that players hometown.

      • ThG

        no. 27 appeared to wear the A in the last game, unless my eye sight deceived me

      • Cheri Cheyne

        Finally! I saw players like Martinez with an A on his uniform and have been looking for an explanation. Thanks.

  6. Earl the Replanted Transplant

    Random thought, but kinda hockey related. Has anyone else noticed that the coach of DET looks a lot like Uncle Fester? Give the man a lightbulb.

    • Emmanuel

      One of the oddest social quirks:
      Partial baldness is considered unattractive
      but
      Total baldness is masculine…..

      • Earl the Replanted Transplant

        A man can be bald and not look like Fester, but that dude looks like Fester.

  7. Jack Hammer

    To be born again,’ sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, ‘first you have to die. Ho ji! Ho ji! To land upon the bosomy earth, first one needs to fly. Tat-taa! Takathun! How to ever smile again, if first you won’t cry? How to win the darling’s love, mister, without a sigh? Baba, if you want to get born again . . .’ Just before dawn one winter’s morning, New Year’s Day or thereabouts, two real, full-grown, living men fell from a great height, twenty-nine thousand and two feet, towards the English Channel, without benefit of parachutes or wings, out of a clear sky.

    ‘I tell you, you must die, I tell you, I tell you,’ and thusly and so beneath a moon of alabaster until a loud cry crossed the night, ‘To the devil with your tunes,’ the words hanging crystalline in the iced white night, ‘in the movies you only mimed to playback singers, so spare me these infernal noises now.’

    Gibreel, the tuneless soloist, had been cavorting in moonlight as he sang his impromptu gazal, swimming in air, butterfly-stroke, breast-stroke, bunching himself into a ball, spreadeagling himself against the almost-infinity of the almost-dawn, adopting heraldic postures, rampant, couchant, pitting levity against gravity. Now he rolled happily towards the sardonic voice. ‘Ohé, Salad baba, it’s you, too good. What-ho, old Chumch.’ At which the other, a fastidious shadow falling headfirst in a grey suit with all the jacket buttons done up, arms by his sides, taking for granted the improbability of the bowler hat on his head, pulled a nickname-hater’s face. ‘Hey, Spoono,’ Gibreel yelled, eliciting a second inverted wince, ‘Proper London, bhai! Here we come! Those bastards down there won’t know what hit them. Meteor or lightning or vengeance of God. Out of thin air, baby. Dharrraaammm! Wham, na? What an entrance, yaar. I swear: splat.’

    Out of thin air: a big bang, followed by falling stars. A universal beginning, a miniature echo of the birth of time . . . the jumbo jet Bostan, Flight AI-420, blew apart without any warning, high above the great, rotting, beautiful, snow-white, illuminated city, Mahagonny, Babylon, Alphaville. But Gibreel has already named it, I mustn’t intefere: Proper London, capital of Vilayet, winked blinked nodded in the night. While at Himalayan height a brief and premature sun burst into the powdery January air, a blip vanished from radar screens, and the thin air was full of bodies, descending from the Everest of the catastrophe to the miky paleness of the sea.

    Who am I?

    Who else is there?

    The aircraft cracked in half, a seed-pod giving up its spores, an egg yielding its mystery. Two actors, prancing Gibreel and buttony, pursed Mr Saladin Chamcha, fell like titbits of tobacco from a broken old cigar. Above, behind, below them in the void there hung reclining seats, stereophonic headsets, drinks trolleys, motion discomfort receptacles, disembarkation cards, duty-free video games, braided caps, paper cups, blankets, oxygen masks. Also — for there had been more than a few migrants aboard, yes, quite a quantity of wives who had been grilled by reasonable, doing-their-job officials about the length of and distinguishing moles upon their husbands’ genitalia, a sufficiency of children upon whose legitimacy the British Government had cast its ever-reasonable doubts — mingling with the remnants on the plane, equally fragmented, equally absurd, there floated the debris of the soul, broken memories, sloughed-off selves, severed mother-tongues, violated privacies, untranslatable jokes, extinguished futures, lost loves, the forgotten meaning of hollow, booming words, land, belonging, home. Knocked a little silly by the blast, Gibreel and Saladin plummeted like bundles dropped by some carelessly open-beaked stork, and because Chamcha was going down head first, in the recommended position for babies entering the birth canal, he commenced to feel a low irritation at the other’s refusal to fall in plain fashion. Saladin nosedived while Farishta embraced air, hugging it with his arms and legs, a flailing, overwrought actor without techniques of restraint. Below, cloud-covered, awaiting their entrance, the slow congealed currents of the English sleeve, the appointed zone of their watery recincarnation.

    ‘O, my shoes are Japanese,’ Gibreel sang, translating the old song into English in semi-conscious deference to the uprushing host-nation, ‘These trousers English, if you please. On my head, red Russian hat; my heart’s Indian for all that.’ The clouds were bubbling up towards them, and perhaps it was on account of that great mystification of cumulus and cumulo-nimbus, the mighty rolling thunderheads standing like hammers in the dawn, or perhaps it was the singing (the one busy performing, the other booing the performance), or their blast-delirium that spared them full foreknowledge of the imminent . . . but for whatever reason, the two men, Gibreelsaladin Farishtachamcha, condemned to this endless but also ending angelicdevilish fall, did not become aware of the moment at which the process of their transmutation began.

  8. JB

    So,what’s best for us tonight? Beat Edmonton or lose? Think about it!

    • NAM

      There is still a chance we get eliminated from the playoffs by STL. Until that goes away it is must win. I also don’t think we want to play the Stars. There isn’t a gimme team for us, but I think the Stars are the legit best team in the west.

  9. arnold rothstein

    Officially, McDavid has a lower body injury and is day to day. Questionable for tmw v. VGK.
    Injury happened with roughly 5:00 to play in Calgary Saturday.
    Sounds like an injury, but not a major one. With playoffs around the corner, they’ll be careful.

    wager responsibility

    Arnold the brain

  10. ThG

    Jesse Granger
    @JesseGranger_
    ·
    2h
    Also from the NHLPA player poll, T-Mobile Arena was voted the toughest arena to play in (31.36%) and the fifth-best ice in the league (5.08%).

    (GIM – good ice matters!)

  11. knights fan in minny

    nhl network reports hill between the pipes tonight

  12. knights fan in minny

    chandler out tonight down 2 centers could get ugly

  13. ThG

    God knows the heart, back this up all the way !!

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