Twitter and hockey news sites are blowing up today with complaints about the Tomas Hertl “trick shot” goal from Tuesday night. Now that the initial “that’s awesome!” reaction has worn off, we have now moved to the emotion of outrage. AKA, “How dare this rookie show up a respected franchise in a blow out game with a circus act move that belongs in the All-Star skills competition!” It has been called show boating and classless by many fans. While it may seem San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan may have agreed, as Hertl did not see any ice time following the goal, he was supportive post-game:
“Well, he scored, why not?” McLellan said. “Our game needs a little bit of that.”
I know Ranger fans are not happy with the goal or celebration. How would I feel if Tomas Hertl’s goal had come against the Jackets? Honestly, the same way I do now. I think it was an amazing shot and a great goal. Sure, a defeat like that would not be fun, but sometimes we have to remember that hockey is supposed to be fun. You don’t see shots like that in every game. If it was against the Jackets, I would try to separate that it was my team that just got embarrassed and just appreciate the moment of an NHL Rookie having the game of his young career.
Hockey fans get upset when players give the same canned “we gotta give it 110%, put pucks on net, establish a good forecheck” interview responses. But as soon as one of them steps out of the shadows and does something a little outside of the norm, or even worse: fun, we freak out and label it as classless or acting out. I agree with Coach McLellan, I think hockey needs a little fun to shake things up.
You know what I saw? I saw ESPN actually stepping away from their 24 hour Peyton Manning worship and actually talking about Hertl’s goal and how it compared to some of the other great NHL “trick shots”. Hertl’s goal is the kind of thing that would make someone who was casually watching Sports Center turn on a hockey game.
Did Hertl do anything offensive, hurtful, or abusive? I sure didn’t see anything that fits that description. I saw a rookie player absolutely loving the chance to play in the NHL.