Things More Disrespectful Than Tomas Hertl’s Goal


Photo: Bruce Bennett

San Jose rookie Tomas Hertl was amazing against the New York Rangers on Tuesday. He scored four goals in 11:12 of ice, including a spectacular nifty between-the-legs move on Martin Biron (who sported a .762 save percentage). It was a showboat move– most players would be afraid to try it in a real game for fear of missing– but it worked, and it got the broader sports world talking.

Capitals head coach Adam Oates didn’t like it though. He told The Washington Post’s Katie Carerra that he thinks Hertl made “a rookie mistake” and that he should not “disrespect the league.”

Oates has done his time in the league, and as a Hall of Famer his opinion matters, but he seems a bit out of proportion here. There are way worse things out there than cool-looking goals.

First, the goal in question:

A beauty. A fun goal, particularly for those of us whose mission statement it is to make reading about hockey fun.

Is it disrespectful? Maybe. Disrespect is kind of a nebulous word, but yeah, maybe it is disrespectful.

Still, there are a great many things that are more disrespectful than scoring a nifty goal. Perhaps we should consider Hertl in context of the following, each of which may be more disrespectful:

  • The way the Rangers sandbagged the back-half of the game in question
  • Alex Ovechkin’s hot-stick celebration
  • Teemu Selanne’s machine-gun celebration
  • Every spinorama shootout attempt ever
  • Actually, the entire shootout concept
  • The league’s woefully inadequate “quiet room” policy
  • Matt Cooke’s existence
  • Pairing the league’s most exciting player, Alex Ovechkin, with Jay Beagle
  • The continued employment of Pierre McGuire
  • Coach’s Corner
  • Cyrillic-to-Latin alphabet name translations (Remember Simeon Varlamov?)
  • The lockout
  • The lockout before that one
  • Gary Bettman’s insistence on injecting himself into the Cup presentation ceremony
  • The devaluing of outdoor games by introducing more and more of them
  • Jay Mohr
  • The way Jay Mohr pronounces “Vezina” like it’s an Italian plumber in a video game
  • The NHL’s lukewarm treatment of Wayne Gretzky
  • The curious, persistent absence of an international Wayne Gretzky holiday
  • The hypocrisy of allowing players to fight, but mandating that they wear helmets
  • The instigator penalty
  • Dale Hunter’s wardrobe
  • The Flortheast Division
  • Actually, the entire Florida Panthers franchise
  • League-owned teams
  • The Washington Redskins
  • Okay, that last one doesn’t count, but it’s good for SEO

Got more? Please share below.

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  • ACMEsalesrep

    You forgot “Pretending that it’s disrespectful for a rookie to score a goal, any goal, under any circumstances”.

  • Tom Wilson is so polite.

  • Shawn Murphy

    “Matt Cooke”
    /Sad Wild fan is sad

  • BJ

    Is your argument Hertl’s goal was not disrespectful because [list of things more disrespectful]? I’m not sure that’s a valid argument. That’s like saying going 5 miles over the speed limit isn’t breaking hte law because that guy was going 10 miles over the speed limit!

  • Alex

    Regardless of what anyone says, that was an awesome move.

  • HarmCity

    George McPhee’s 16+ years with the Caps.

  • JakeCameraAction

    How about being the captain of a team and then demanding a trade when they don’t do well and having your C stripped from you?

  • HarmCity

    Martin Erat playing on the 4th line

  • Topher Gee

    Is an empty netter disrespectful to the league?

    There was a goalie in net, if the rangers (only team that should care) don’t like than don’t give him a breakaway.

  • RedRockingElla

    I wish Caps players were more disrespectful then!

  • Nomo

    I don’t understand how the way you score a goal can be disrespectful. Celebrations can be, but tricking a goalie to score a goal is not disrespect.

  • Uhh, no. That’s an absurdist version of what I said.

    Here’s what I actually said:

    “Is it disrespectful? Maybe. Disrespect is kind of a nebulous word, but yeah, maybe it is disrespectful.”

    I’m saying if that goal offends you, considering the sheer tonnage of things worse than that in the league I’m surprised you can get out of bed in the morning.

  • james1968

    I don’t understand how Hertl’s goal is in anyway disrespectful, someone please explain?

  • Kevin Parlett

    Aaron Ashams fight celebrations. The Big Ten hockey conference. Alaska Nanook polar bear destroying other campuses and the world. Sidney Crosbys whining. LeBrons hairline.

  • Chris

    ‘Twas against the Rags. So I loved every second of it.

  • haha the nanook! Forgot about that.

  • Owen Johnson

    Proposing that Washington “hosts” the Winger Classic in Baltimore. Especially if we play the Flyers.


  • Matthew Kory


  • VeggieTart

    I don’t get it either. Maybe Hertl was showboating a bit, but what player doesn’t dream of making a highlight-reel goal. Maybe Oates doesn’t like it when a team piles on, but if any team deserves a 9-2 beatdown, it’s the New York Rangers.

  • I’ll defer to someone who currently plays or has recently played, but in short: it’s overconfident, intending to embarrass the goalie, rather than just merely score.

    That’s not necessarily my opinion, but that’s one way of putting it.

  • Forrest Smith

    Arron Asham’s “go to sleep” motion?

  • To be fair, he felt bad about that afterwards.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Sidney Crosby’s “mustache/beard”

  • scott

    keeping Erat and trading Perreault for nothing

  • Clint Petty

    At that point in the game, the Rangers are down 6 goals (8-2). Which means even if they scored a touchdown they would still need to kick the extra point to win the game. Basically, they had no chance to win.
    The rookie already got his hat trick, so scoring a trick goal like that is just rubbing it in the Rangers face. Beautiful goal, you can’t argue that, but save it for the shootout. Simple dump and chase to run out the clock would have sufficed.

    It does make me excited that each team plays every other team at least twice though. Hertl’s gonna get destroyed next time they play the Rags.

  • Alex


  • Shameless SEO gimmicks.

  • james1968

    I guess I would say that disrespect requires some amount of intent on the part of the person doing it. Definetly didn’t see anything like that from this kid.

  • Art Vandelay

    The Rangers got disrespected? Boo hoo. That makes me sooooo sad.

  • radionradiation

    Oh Nanook, destroyer of worlds, and Ohio state, how I have missed you!

  • james1968

    So had he scored in some other way that wouldn’t of been disrespectful, or was scoring itself what was disrespectful?

  • jennrubenstein

    hey now, the B1G hockey conference is already awesome!
    go bucks =)

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    To continue my Top Gun day…”Maverick….I’m curious….who was covering Cougar while you were showboating with this MiG?”

  • What a wonderful point. “Disrespect”, as we usually talk about it, is something projected upon an action without countenance of the agent’s intent. Disrespect is an impression of meaning that can rarely be fully valid because it can rarely be spoken of with any authority.

    When saw a thing was disrespectful, we are actually saying, like we do with all things, “(I think) that thing was disrespectful.”

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Buzzing the tower.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Engaging below the hard deck.

  • Five for Fighting

    Two things: Movember. I will donate $ for players not to grow a porn star mustache. Playoff Beards. Lets get N America to pay attention to our sport, and then dress up like Neanderthals. Ie: Brent Burns always.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Going ballistic with the admiral’s daughter.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Keeping up foreign relations. Giving him the bird.

  • schumatrix

    I’m usually of the opinion that people who don’t like this don’t like fun (love Oatesy though). Incredible goal. If you don’t like how he did it, don’t give him a breakaway.


    Hearing a question to Marleau about Hertl and whether he was showboating, Thornton said:
    “Shut up, have you ever played the game?”

    When the press turned his way, he then added:
    “I’d have my cock out if I scored four goals. I’d have my cock out, stroking it.”


  • Clint Petty

    It’s a little of both to me. The team didn’t need a 9th goal, and they were just running up the score which most teams in any sport will agree is disrespectful.

    If they scored a different type of goal like a rebound or goalie mistake I think the reaction would have been different.

    I agree that he was just having fun, and who wouldn’t if you were a 19 year old rookie in NHL having just scored a hat trick. But there was no need to embarass the back-up goalie Biron like that.

  • Adam Schwager

    Jagr’s Salute

  • oliethegoalie

    You forgot Mike Milbury.

  • manda

    Shouting “O’s” during the Star Bangled Banner at Caps game (it is hockey, not baseball). For the record, I am fine with shouting “Red”. Yelling “WHO CARES” after they announce opposing scorer (Because, I care. We should all care. We did something wrong). And “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT” to the goalie after we score (It’s just mean). Unless it is Tim Thomas then “ALL THE THINGS ARE YOUR FAULT!”

  • DC Hockey Nut
  • james1968

    I don’t think Hertl himself intended in anyway to embarass the goalie. As you say he was a rookie having fun and I doubt there was much in the way of premeditation regarding that last goal. San Jose wasn’t exactly beating up on an inferior opponent. The Rangers are a quality veteran team whose sense of embaressment should come from their play in this particular game, not some exuberent rookies highly skilled goal. I hope they have enough class not to take unnecessary shots on him in the future.

  • Ash

    It’s interesting, actually. The last couple times I’ve been to the games, I went out of my way to ask anyone near me who shouted “O” if they were Orioles fans. Four out of the five folks were under the impression we did it for Ovi, not for the Orioles. So, just to put that out there– I think the intent on the “O” has shifted.

  • Rocket

    You forgot Anisimov’s sniper celebration. People were very upset

  • KTLovesCaps

    “The team didn’t need a 9th goal.” … Of course they didn’t. But what are you saying? Are they supposed to stop playing? Why? It’s not their fault the Rangers sucked.

  • brian!

    I remember the outrage over Kaspars Daugavins shootout attempt. I thought it was misdirected.

  • KTLovesCaps

    I honestly think this is a case of “you hate it because it’s not your team.” I would like to see whether the people complaining would still feel the same if a rookie on their team scored this goal.

  • brian!

    Meh, I thought that was OK. A little silly considering it was a regular-season game perhaps, but the enthusiasm and love of the game is charming.

  • beachrats

    Evidently his coach wasn’t thrilled with it, he sat for the rest of the game, 0 toi after that goal and there was still 7:56 left

  • Yo8

    Mike Milbury!

  • Clint Petty

    I don’t think any team should ever stop playing/scoring regardless of the score. They are professionals and they are paid to play until the final horn, and we expect them to do so as paying fans.

    Let me just clear the record by saying that I think his goal was ridiculously awesome. You probably wouldn’t try that shot in a close game, the only time you’d have an opportunity to do that is in a blowout or in a shootout. So given the circumstances, hell of a shot, hell of a goal. I’m honestly happy he got his 4th, and it made for an awesome headline for the NHL in general. This is all good stuff.

    On the other hand, I can see where this might tick people off by running up the score. To relate it to football, it’s kinda like doing a trick play to score a 2pt conversion in the 4th quarter when your team is already up 49-14. Was it an awesome play? Yes. Was it necessary? Probably not. Will it make the highlight reels? Most likely. And it will definitely spark some controversy.

  • JinPA

    Crosby “missing” (refusing to shake) Lidstrom’s hand in the post-series handshake line…pushing the goalie after the end of the period and then hiding behind refs and a defender when the opposing Captain confronts him about it (and a fight breaks out)…proving he can endure and recover from serious injury, yet continuing to fall to the ice when bumped…

  • Rogbo64

    When you run with the lower dogs you see lots of paws, claws and a$$holes…

  • I agree. I’m a psycho-believer in good sportsmanship, but I believe that not trying to score is neither good strategy nor being a good sport. That’s double negative-y, sorry.

    He used a tactic that worked, he did it during open play, and he did it using an uncommon amount of confidence for a player his age.

    Dig it.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    that was what got me on my Top Gun kick today.

  • Priscilla Villanueva

    Seriously, though. I think it depends on the sport. If showboating is to hockey as admiring your home run is to baseball – then the guy was not only showboating, he was lucky he didn’t get a puck to the face.

  • 5manfront

    Disrespectful to the league? I guess if you are saying the whole “spirit of the game” and “sportsmanship,” then yeah, kinda.

    Disrespectful to the Rags? Oh hell yes.

    I’ve been on both sides of blow-out games where the winning team is yukking it up on the bench, showboating on the field/ice, etc. Do we really need that behind the back and between the legs shot on a 1v0 breakaway in a game where your team is up by 6 goals? Do we need the over-the-top TD celebration when your team is up by 35 points? Do we need to flex and mug for the camera after a dunk when your team is up by 20pts?

    It might be fun for the winning side and their fans, but I know when I was on the losing side and was watching some d-bag showboat like that, I wanted to break his effing jaw. I know I felt disrespected at the very least.

  • 5manfront

    If he had done a simple move (not some highlight reel, video game move) and scored and then celebrated with his teammates, there would have been very little issue. It was the manner in which is was done, not that it was done.

  • 5manfront

    I disagree. Intent isn’t necessary. Lack of intent may give him a little bit more of a pass you might say, but it’s still disrespectful.

  • Matt Root

    Hey hey hey.. Russians are off limits here

  • Derek Eklund

    Seriously? So being good is a bad thing? Isn’t doing their best to own the goalie the whole point of the game? Biron allowing that to happen is the real problem.

    Someone tell Gretzky he was disrespecting the league with those unnecessary 894 goals.

    Sorry Oates. I love you but I disagree.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    Malkin’s goal against a down-and-out Lightning team being compared to Lemieux’s famous goal.

  • Sharks1182

    It was actually the goal that made it 8-2, not the 9th goal. The Sharks added a powerplay goal with approximately 4 minutes left. Interesting that no one is upset the Sharks attempted to score on a powerplay even thought they were up 6. Does Oates want teams to stop playing their game so that opponents can come back and take momentum back? If the Rangers didn’t want Hertl to score again, they shouldn’t have given him a breakaway.

  • Anela

    “The continued employment of Pierre McGuire” made me laugh so hard because that is at the top of my list. We mute him whenever he is on the tv, so that things don’t get thrown at it.

  • maddyjl

    Disrespectful chants? Try the “Asshole!” chant of the Wells Fargo Center directed to the opposing team member after one of the Flyers engages in fisticuffs…

  • maddyjl

    I fail to see how this is even the slightest bit disrespectful. He’s being paid to play hockey. He scored a goal, a key component in playing hockey. Where’s the disrespect? If he’s got tricks, why shouldn’t he use them?

  • bone

    Coach sat him to protect him – not because he wasn’t thrilled.

  • beachrats

    So the coach was thrilled to have to sit him for the last 8 minutes of the game to protect him? What about the rest of the season, don’t you think that he’s a target now? Every team is going hit him hard, often and early to prevent this from happening to them, it’s the nature of the game and how will the coach protect him then?

  • Red

    Booing former Caps (unless their name ends with _ágr).