WILMINGTON -- It was hard not to notice 19-year-old San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl’s performance on Tuesday night where he became the youngest player in nearly 30 years to score four goals in a game. Hertl helped the Sharks bury the New York Rangers with a nine-goal barrage, and his fourth goal might have been the prettiest goal that will be scored in the NHL this season.
Hertl sped right around Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto, dangled the puck between his legs and then roofed the shot over Martin Biron for the sweetest of highlight-reel goals. While the scene was about as wholesome as the NHL gets with the Czech Republic native’s teary-eyed mother and girlfriend watching in the stands, some had a problem with Hertl “hot-dogging it” in a blowout hockey game.
Never mind the mind-blowing skill exhibited by a teenager during live game action or the rare feat of scoring four goals in a game, it will be remembered this season as one of the NHL’s best moments.
That’s exactly how Claude Julien will choose to remember it in a league that seems to be getting a wee bit sensitive about pretty standard things.
“It was a pretty nice goal,” said Claude Julien. “I was just saying this morning that it’s pretty unfortunate when there’s a good hit in hockey, there seems to be players wanting revenge for a nice, clean hit. When a player scores a nice, pretty goal, the first thing that comes out of people’s mouth is ‘Was he hot-dogging it?’
“It was a nice goal that he scored, so let’s accept it. It’s the same thing as I said about [Kaspars] Daugavins when he tried that [spin-o-rama] move [in the shootout]. Hey, if he scores it’s a goal for his team . . . big deal. I don’t think we should be mad about those kinds of things if they’re allowed in our game.”
Julien is, of course, referring to the trick shot spin-o-rama Daugavins attempted against the Bruins during the shootout last season while he was still a member of the Ottawa Senators before joining Boston via waivers a few weeks later.