Tomas Hertl 's between-the-legs goal against the New York Rangers and Martin Biron was one of the NHL season's most dazzling and probably one of its most controversial. The video of the goal, which capped a four-goal night for the then-19-year-old forward, quickly went viral and was the talk of the league for weeks.
Hertl was also the target of a wave of criticism for being “disrespectful” and Don Cherry even claimed that goal was going to end Biron's career. To the surprise of everyone, it kind of did. Biron was waived by the Rangers two days after giving up that famous goal (though he might have been waived anyway after previous poor play). After going unclaimed, he retired from the NHL and went into broadcasting.
The story doesn't end there, though. Hertl told Czech media outlet iSport.cz he was given Martin Biron's stick and the goaltender was actually gracious enough to sign it.
The Czech forward was recently photographed after returning home to the Czech Republic, a little more famous than when he left. With his many bags of luggage, Hertl proudly showed off his souvenir. Though it does not appear to be the stick from that fateful goal (this one looks like a practice stick), it's Biron's model and bears his autograph on the blade.
Biron was gracious in his rather abrupt exit from the NHL, but this takes it to an entirely new level. For Hertl, it's probably the best possible souvenir from his unforgettable rookie season. The Sharks forward unfortunately was injured for most of the year, which took out his Calder Trophy hopes, but at least he gets a trophy of some kind.
The 20-year-old sensation will represent the Czech Republic at the IIHF World Championship which opens this week in Minsk, Belarus.
And just because we'll never be able to get enough of it, here's the goal again.