Don Cherry Unfortunately Correct On Hertl Goal

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Even the most obnoxious person can be right.

Some people will self-flagellate before admitting an enemy is correct, because looking foolish is apparently preferable to making concessions.  So instead of embarrassing themselves in this manner, it’s better for those unable to stomach Don Cherry to admit he was right about Tomas Hertl and his dazzling goal against New York last week.

A fair summary of Cherry’s analysis is as follows: when an opponent is soundly beaten, as New York was by San Jose, there is no need to humiliate them further with hot-dogging.  That is what young Hertl did, likely unintentionally, when he became the youngest player since 1988 to score four goals in one game.

 

I say “likely unintentionally” because Hertl is a 19-year-old rookie from the Czech Republic; a country at the center of a European continent where flamboyant soccer celebrations reign.  Hertl is a kid and doesn’t know any better, something that Cherry, in a surprising interval of reasonableness, made clear while avoiding his typical miasmic criticism of European hockey culture.

Cherry shocked his critics further when he stated that if the game were tied or otherwise close, the goal would have been just a beauty and not an insulting one.  “What if this was your brother? What if this was your son?” was a melodramatic way for Cherry to lament the mortification of Rangers goalie, Martin Biron.  But generally, Cherry reacted just the way a thoughtful appraiser of hockey would be expected to.

It’s doubtful Cherry supporters themselves would describe the man as a “thoughtful appraiser.”  His appeal, totally lost on me, comes from his provincial, traditionalist attitude toward the game.

Observant people should remember that the old conflicts with the new; right conflicts with left; dark conflicts with light, but that which conflicts can also instruct, and subjective antagonists indirectly ally with subjective protagonists all the time.

Gore Vidal hated William Buckley, but both wanted to end the drug war.

Ronald Reagan thought the USSR was an evil empire, but so did Francisco Franco, Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler.

The phrases “a stopped watch is right twice a day” and “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” express similar sentiments.  I’m stating well-known truths here, but knowing something intellectually is different than understanding. Truisms from people who cause our skin to crawl and blood to boil can make us understand, truly and deeply understand, that wisdom can come from anyone.

The quantity of wisdom coming from someone is a separate question, especially, when Cherry is involved.  Godwin’s Law states that all heated conversations will involve Hitler or some other villain.  You will notice the law’s application when people imply your sympathy for monsters and announce, “that’s what so-and-so said!”

Cherry is obnoxious, but not a monster, and while it’s inconvenient that obnoxious people can be right, it is true, nonetheless.

 

 

 

Ian Dunham
I began my career in hockey as a pre-scout for Cranbrook Kingswood Academy in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I have been writing about the NHL for multiple platforms since the 2007-2008 season.
Ian Dunham

10 Comments

  1. I disagree with Grapes and I disagree with you. It may have been a ‘hot dog’ move, but it wasn’t an in-your-face goal celebration. It was a legit shot, or scoring move, that obviously worked. Sure, they had a big lead, and the kid was loose so he decided to have a little fun.

    That’s it. Take the fun out of the game. All the whining about goal celebrations and hot dogging. What are you trying to protect? The “sanctity” of a game? The “code” of the sport?

    It’s a GAME for christ’s sake. It’s supposed to be fun. Fun to play and fun to watch.

    What next? Remove hitting from the game, because that’s not nice. Don’t put your top line out late in the game when you have the lead. Why not go back to when players weren’t allowed to make a forward pass. I mean, you want to go there?

    Don’t do this, don’t do that. The coach’s job is to win. The coach’s job is to develop his players. You don’t think that Hertl’s confidence took a big boost? You don’t think the team rallied behind that?

    Get the headshots out of the game. Heck, get the fighting out of the game if you have to. But come on, man, let them have a little fun.

    • and BS to your “Hertl is a kid and doesn’t know better.” He’s an adult. He’s a professional hockey playing adult. Saying he should know better sounds as moronic as Adam Oates did with his comments.

      • Not trying to remove anything. Pointing out that the “dont-get-flashy-when you-are-already-crushing-someone” argument has some merits. Hertl is legally an adult, but people older than 19 would agree that in most situations, 19-year-olds can be referred to as “kids.” I guess I should state that it was a beautiful goal and Hertl could be the guy that SJ needs to finally win a cup.

        • Just make sure he doesn’t skate with it over his head in front of opposing fans cause you know that might be disrespectful to those people who paid a lot fo money for those seats.

      • Right, yeah. Exactly what I was thinking and implying.

  2. This adds entertainment value and drama to the sport. You don’t like it? Then let it spark a monumental comeback. Trounce them in the next outing. Chirp Hertl all over the ice. Play his body mercilessly. Or be offended and DO SOMETHING about it.

    Just don’t complain about getting your feelings hurt in the NHL. This wasn’t a dirty play or headshot and they aren’t trying to teach mites and squirts sportsmanship as a life lesson out there. This is guys being paid millions of dollars to make you stand up out of your seat. Remember that.

  3. If the Rangers don’t want him to score, maybe don’t give him a breakaway? Not sure how you can say anything bad about this goal. Nice move, nice highlight. Good for the sport.

    • Fair point, but an unwritten rule in hockey is no hot-dogging when teams have been crushed mercilessly. But the goal was sick and Hertl is awesome. Would have been even cooler if it was a game winner or insurance goal.

  4. Well done Ian. Having written against Hertl’s antics as well, I agree.

    • Thanks, Ross. It’s amazing how many people will go through quite a bit of twisting to avoid admitting someone they despise is correct. It’s a childish thing that many do not grow out of.

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