About Tomas Hertl’s Goal And The Move Heard ‘Round The World

Oct 8, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks center

Tomas Hertl

(48) shoots the puck between his legs past New York Rangers goalie

Martin Biron

(43) during the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the New York Rangers 9-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

An interesting thing happened on Tuesday night at SAP Center during the game between the New York Rangers and the San Jose Sharks: Rangers broadcaster Sam Rosen only yelled, “SAVE, LUNDQVIST!” 48 or 49 times, well below his season average of 19,874 YPG. (All ‘yells-per-game’ figures approximate.)

This is probably because the Sharks scored nine goals en route to a 9-2 victory—which means opportunities to celebrate any saves were few and far between—but is mostly because New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist was lifted halfway through the second period after allowing four goals on 25 shots.

To his credit, Rosen actually slipped in one or two “SAVE, LUNDQVIST!”s after backup netminder Martin Biron took over. (I’m assuming, here. It was a late game. I might’ve blacked out.)

What was even more interesting than Rosen’s season-low YPG performance was the reaction of the NHL world to 19-year-old Sharks center Tomas Hertl. Or, more specifically, to his fourth goal of the night.

If you haven’t seen the goal, maybe consider interacting with people once in a while instead of living under a rock.

Hertl scored what’s easily the most highlight reel-worthy goal of the young 2013-14 NHL season…and because everyone has an opinion and a Twitter account, it’s become easily the most loved/hated/replayed/criticized goal since Opening Night.

Fans, former players, league officials, broadcasters, my dad: Everyone had a #HotSportsTake on the Hertl goal. And being that it was a pretty legit goal—even Rangers fans are kind of nodding—it deserved to be talked about. Hertl wasn’t the first to try this move and he won’t be the last.

Ironically, former Rangers defenseman Marek Malík pulled it off first in 2006, making the overwhelming backlash against Hertl all the more perplexing.

If you’re one of the people condemning him for “disrespecting the game” or “breaking an unwritten rule,” I have a few questions for you…

What, exactly, was so bad about Hertl’s goal? Wouldn’t you agree that if the Rangers didn’t want to open themselves up to “being disrespected,” then they should’ve played defense?

Did you think ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl’ was a cult name? (Did you even hear about the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Hertl’ thing?)

Have you ever played hockey? Do you not like fantastic displays of on-ice skill performed by kids who probably haven’t shaved for the first time? Did you root for the U.S.S.R. in the Miracle On Ice game?

How many times have you told some damn youngster to get off your lawn today? More than eight? Did you not like Hertl’s celebration because it reminded you of when you were 19 and now that you’re old you realize you’ll probably never be able to do something like that? (How’s this season of Murder, She Wrote, by the way?)

Did you like the NHL better before curved sticks and butterfly goaltending? Back when they played on dirt? Are you a believer in hockey’s “unwritten rules?” Do you think Hertl should’ve “acted like he’d been there before?” Do you realize that he hasn’t been there before because it was only his third NHL game? Am I asking too many questions?

What do you think about this? Or this? Or this?

OK, I’ll stop.

But seriously, come on: the kid is leading his team in goals and points, and doesn’t even have an official headshot photo.

If you didn’t like his goal and/or his celebration and/or him (apparently) breaking one of hockey’s most sacred commandments—Thou shalt not score in a professional hockey game so as not to hurt thine opposition’s feelings, or whatever—then maybe you’re watching the wrong sport.

The NHL isn’t a post-apocalyptic hellscape where tradition is buried as the cost of some teenager’s 15 minutes of fame. People score in hockey. Some goals are just flashier than others.

Rangers fans, don’t take the Sam Rosen thing the wrong way. Seriously, I love him. That’s probably why I tweet about him more often than I tweet about any other broadcaster. Speaking of which, follow me here: @MichaelWillhoft. We can reminisce about the days when Rosen shared the booth with John Davidson and all was right with the world.