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Exit Interview: Hertl on Why This Was His ‘Toughest Year’

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

Tomas Hertl admits it.

“I know I have to be better too,” the San Jose Sharks alternate captain admitted in his Apr. 15 exit interview. “This season, I think, it’s just too much up and down.”

This feast or famine was reflected in Hertl’s monthly splits: 1-6-6-1-1-6-1.

Meaning, he scored six goals in a month three times this year, in November, December, and March, and in each of the other months of the regular season, October, January, February, and April, he notched just a single goal for the entire month.

There are both mental and physical aspects to the big centerman improving his consistency, which the 29-year-old touched on with the media.

Also, San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn went in detail too:

Exit Interview: Quinn on What Sharks Need To Improve Most, Which Youngsters Impressed

Hertl explains why this was his “toughest year”, what sets Quinn apart from other coaches that he’s had, and more.

See the full Tomas Hertl interview here

Tomas Hertl, on how this disappointing San Jose Sharks season evolved:

Yeah, it’s almost cliche over the last couple of years. Probably the toughest year, I think.

How the season go? It’s tough, it’s still kind of fresh. It’s tough missing the playoffs, four times in a row now. You miss it. You want it [back] as soon as possible because you’re missing the most fun of the year. You will do whatever you can just to get back on the track.

Hertl, on specific things he can improve this summer:

I was working on [these things the] last couple of years. I’m built a little different…

Hockey is changing…

Everything is faster. You always try to get [in] the best shape you can, if you lose a couple pounds, it’s always good.

Because now, it’s a lot about skating and [being] fast. So for sure, I’m gonna try, do my best and get better…

Get a little faster.

After everything, I think I can work on my shot.

Hertl, on why this year was particularly a struggle for him, compared to past seasons:

I don’t know. It’s tough to say. But it’s not easy when you’re losing games because you put high expectations for yourself to help the team. For sure, when you don’t score for a couple games, and we didn’t have that many [scorers]…

You try hard, and sometimes, it just goes the other way, and it actually makes it worse.

I know I have to be better too. This season, I think, it’s just too much up and down. If I want to be a top player in the league, you have to be consistent every night or maybe every 10 games, you can take one night off. Just too much up and down.

I know even if you don’t score, you have to show [the way], play hard and be one of the leaders of the team and help the young kids to get better. [I have] to work on that too. Just more consistency in my game [too].

Hertl, on what made this his toughest season:

I think especially early, because we lost so many late games. Everybody talking how many times we’ve been so close, but still so far…

That’s what probably [was the] most frustrating, because if you look back, we played probably one of the most overtimes or shootouts in the NHL. There’s so many points laying right there. So many late game goals, and it could be way different.

[We had too many of] these games. It’s tough to come back because you’re hunting every game, and before every game, you have to say oh we have to win this one or we’re too far [behind]. That’s sometimes not good because you’re putting it in your head. When you play, sometimes, freely, that’s when you play the best hockey.

Hertl, on how to balance being a highly-paid player but not beating himself up too much when things don’t go right:

I’m always putting pressure on myself. I always want to do what is the best for the team.

Sometimes, it’d be nice if you can just play freely. I have to get better on that too. I was just talking with you guys a couple weeks ago, sometimes, you just have to play hockey. And everything will come…

If you make some mistake, you just give up an easy goal, you have to be okay, it was terrible, but you have to come back right away next shift. Same with tough games…

That’s another thing I could work on.

Hertl, on David Quinn being different than other coaches that he’s had, in terms of a closer player-coach relationship:

I can probably say that. He just likes to talk to the guys…

That’s why he sometimes, [he has] more meetings than coaches before. Especially for young guys, I think it’s important so they know coaches care…

I think he did a very good job, even with the season we had.

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