Oates to Hertl: 'Don't disrespect the league'

Oates to Hertl: 'Don't disrespect the league'
October 10, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Tomas “Teenage Mutant Ninja” Hertl became an overnight sensation with his between-the-legs goal against New York Rangers goaltender Marty Biron late Tuesday night in the Sharks’ 9-2 win at the Shark Tank.

But not all of the reaction to Hertl’s goal, which was his fourth of the night and gave the Sharks an 8-2 lead, has been positive.

Just ask Capitals center Brooks Laich.

“You tell me that if the Sharks are down 2-1 and he tries that [move] and he doesn’t pull it off, he goes back to the bench and the coach is going to go, ‘Nice try?’” Laich said. “He’s going to say, ‘Shoot the puck in the net like a man does.’"

“It was a situational move. That’s exactly what it was.”

Capitals coach Adam Oates agreed, saying he was “upset” by the timing of Hertl’s move and that Sharks coach Todd McLellan did the right thing by benching the 19-year-old rookie for the 7:55 that remained in the game after he scored the goal.

“I’m glad the coach did that because in this league it’ll bite you if you’re not sharp,” Oates said. “Don’t disrespect the league. I’m sure it was a rookie mistake.”

McLellan said Hertl, who is from the Czech Republic, probably was a victim of his own exuberance.

“It’s probably not a real good celebrating time [with an 8-2 lead], but he’s so innocent that he’s excited about doing it,” McLellan told reporters after the game, “and sometimes that passion is a good thing to have in our game.”

If you'll recall, Alex Ovechkin received similar criticism for his "burning stick" celebration against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009. Oates said he didn't agree with that then and didn't like Hertl's fist-pumping celebration in an 8-2 game.  

The Sharks play the Rangers again on March 16 in New York and it will be interesting to see how the Rangers respond then. Tonight the Sharks are back in action in Vancouver and Oates says he’d be surprised to see Hertl pull that trick out of his bag a second time.

“It’s funny, I was just talking to George [McPhee] and he said all the kids do that nowadays, which I understand,” Oates said. “But would he have done it on his first goal? If he hasn’t scored yet tonight and he gets a breakaway, is he going to do that on his breakaway? We’ll see.”

Laich says no way.

“He doesn’t do it,” Laich said. “Because if you miss that … “