On Tuesday, 19-year-old Tomas Hertl became the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to score four or more goals in a single game.
His final goal, was nothing short of spectacular.
The rookie was crossing in front of the net with the puck on a slight breakaway, when out of nowhere, he pulled it back through his legs and flicked a wicked, between-the-legs backhander into the upper corner of the goal.
|Photo by: Marcio Jose Sanchez|
Not everyone was a fan of the play, however. Specifically, Adam Oates, head coach of the Washington Capitals.
The Hall of Famer took it upon himself to voice his disdain for the way Hertl scored his breathtaking goal. Not with some sort of excessive celebration (which didn't happen). Not with the young man running his mouth off about accomplishing such a feat (which also didn't happen). Just about the style of the shot.
"I'm upset," Oates told the Washington Post. "Don't disrespect the league. I'm sure it was a rookie mistake."
Oates also mentioned that Hertl opened himself up for retribution down the line, which is seemingly a blatant threat in a sport that believes in policing itself.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in the unwritten rules of sports and not showing up the other team. I supported both instances in baseball recently when the Atlanta Braves confronted opposing players for talking smack while rounding the bases and watching home runs for too long. And if Tomas Hertl had done something similar, I might have felt the same way.
But this is apples and oranges.
It was obviously a move the kid had practiced on numerous occasions, and it clearly confused and confounded the goalie. It also put another point on the board for his team.
Last time I checked, wasn't that the goal in hockey?
Isn't innovation a good thing? I've seen some pretty creative shots attempted during shootouts, with spins and dipsy-do moves trying to fool a goalie or get him moving one way while the shot goes another.
How was this any different?
And with the waning interest in hockey since the last two work stoppages, shouldn't all coaches and players be in favor of anything that draws interest back to the game, even if it is unconventional shot-making?
I say nice job, Mr. Hertl. Keep up the good work. Just be sure to keep your head up and watch your back when you play the Caps.
It sounds like their old-school coach may want to teach you a lesson.