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Tomas Hertl backlash: Adam Oates says 'don't disrespect the league'

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

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It was only a matter of time before the backlash came toward Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl for turning in the goal of the year on Tuesday night.

Hertl, in a rout that ended with a final score of 9-2, scored his fourth goal of the game in incredible style. It was the talk of the league that night and into the next day, the talk even breaking through that glass wall that hockey sometimes is stuck behind on the national scene. It was simply an amazing play.

Apparently it was too amazing for Capitals coach Adam Oates (and you know he's not alone). Here's Oates' thoughts on the goal via Katie Carrera of the Washington Post:

"I'm upset. I was just talking to George [McPhee] and he said all the kids do that nowadays, which I understand. But would he have done it on his first goal?" Oates said. "He hasn't scored yet tonight and he gets a breakaway, is he going to do that on his breakaway? We'll see.

"I think it was a little bit of a mood thing, which I'm sure they talked about, because they didn't play him after that," Oates continued. "I'm glad the coach did that because this league, it will bite you if you're not sharp. Don't disrespect the league. I'm sure it was a rookie mistake."

During Oates's playing days, a goal like that would have brought at least a fight or a solid slash from a goaltender, if not more.

"Great move, don't get me wrong -- it's a shootout move or something, and it's great," Oates said. "I'm glad the way San Jose treated it. As long as he doesn't disrespect the league. The league's hard."

Adam Oates is a smart man and a very good coach. Adam Oates has a very bad opinion on this matter.

There is nothing wrong with what Hertl did on Tuesday night, absolutely nothing. He used his speed to break free of the defense after an excellent outlet pass and he used a flashy move to score a goal. He found a way to reverse his direction to take the puck to the open side of the net while coming in at an angle. It was nothing short of fantastic.

How on earth is that any sign of disrespect? People are going to say it was already a blowout so lay off, but come on. We only want to see pedestrian goals out there, especially when the game is one-sided, none of that fancy stuff? Not me. Imagine if this move were done in a shootout where we've seen some other crazy and flashy things; would it be a problem then? Of course not. The score does matter some but complaining about sensational play? Ridiculous.

On a related note, Hertl's play so thoroughly impressed the Harlem Globetrotters that he was given a Trotter Tribute. Seriously.

This old mentality needs to die and it needs to die now. This is way worse than the crumudgeon reponse toward Nail Yakupov's game-winning goal celebration last season and others before him. Why? That was something that happened after a goal, it was in celebration. What Hertl did was in the game, it was a legitimate move to score a goal and that's what he did. Want to be mad about any celebration when the clock is stopped? Fine (although I hate that opinion too). But getting mad at a guy for a move in the game? Save it.

As the old saying goes, if you don't want them to celebrate on you then stop them. The Rangers didn't stop him. They had their chance but Hertl blew by them like they were standing still. If they get beat like that or simply aren't trying at that point in the game then don't get mad at somebody who is. Interestingly, the Rangers have remained quiet about it, seemingly aware they lost their right to complain when the game was done. They were too embarrassed by their own effort, not Hertl's.

Oates isn't alone here, you can probably expect the same thing to come out of Don Cherry's mouth on the next episode of Coach's Corner on CBC this weekend. It's just an utter shame. This is something that shined a very positive light on the NHL and yet some in the game want to put a stop to it.

Thankfully, Bruins coach Claude Julien is on the complete other side of this spectrum.

The league needs more goals like Hertl's not less.

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