Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Hertl goal sparks debate over showboating

Richard Panik has no problem with the way Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl scored Tuesday against the Rangers, a between-the-legs trick shot on goaltender Marty Biron.

But Panik, a Lightning rookie, said he would not have done it in that situation. San Jose was up 7-2 during the third period in what ended as a 9-2 rout.

"The other team is kind of frustrated already," Panik said. "You don't want to (tick) them off any more."

Panik's opinion is valid as the hockey world debates if Hertl, 19, showboated and disrespected the Rangers with the goal that made him the first teenager since Jimmy Carson in 1988 with the Kings to score four goals in a game.

Panik scored with a similar between-the-legs goal for AHL Norfolk during the 2011-12 season.

"But the score was a little bit different," Panik said, recalling the Admirals were up 3-1 at the time.

"I don't think (Hertl) tried to disrespect the other team. But if the score is 7-2, you don't want to do something like that. But he already had three goals. So he was pretty confident. So he tried to do it, and it worked out."

Sharks coach Todd McLellan was worried enough Hertl would be marked for retaliation by the Rangers, he benched him for the game's final seven minutes.

"Twenty years ago, he would have got the (stuffing) kicked out of him if he went back on the ice after embarrassing the Rangers," ESPN analyst and former Lightning coach Barry Melrose told the San Jose Mercury News. "I'm pretty surprised something didn't happen."

But Lightning center Nate Thompson said, "He scored the goal, so it's kind of hard to argue that it was showboating. I can see both sides of it. But he's a young kid. He's exuberant, excited about the game. If he can do it, so be it."

The Lightning has plenty of experience with showboating. There was Alex Ovechkin's hot-stick celebration in March 2009 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and Linus Omark's shootout goal in December 2010 in Edmonton in which, before he scored, he pirouetted and slapped the ice with his stick.

The Rangers' Artem Anisimov in December 2011 at Madison Square Garden was jumped by the Lightning after he celebrated a goal with his stick as a mock rifle pointed at goalie Mathieu Garon.

But back to Hertl.

"He's just having fun," said Lightning rookie Ondrej Palat, a teammate of Panik's at Norfolk. "He's confident enough to do it. I don't like that people think it's disrespect or something. I don't see anything about that.

"He's good enough to make the play, so why not?"

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

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