What’s the difference between the Tomas Hertl goal and the Mike Smith goal? I’ve had almost a week to roll this around in my head, and I didn’t want to seem too knee-jerkish in my reaction to it. Let’s recap though.
Tomas Hertl scored four goals in a game against the New York Rangers. For his fourth tally (in case you have amnesia) he slid the puck between his legs and pulled a dandy shootout move in the middle of a blowout game to bring the Shark Tank to its feet.
This move sent shock waves through the hockey community. Adam Oates and the entire Washington Capitals team decided to chime in and deem it inappropriate. It’s embarrassing, apparently, to score on a goalie like that in a game that is clearly already decided. Hertl clearly should have just shot the puck into Martin Biron’s pads and skated away, yeah?
At least that what Don Cherry would have preferred.
Cherry, in his typical borderline-xenophobic fashion, went on and on about how Hertl didn’t know any better because he’s a European.
“That’s what they do over there.” Which is really just code for “he wouldn’t have done that if he was Canadian.” Fine. Whatever Grapes.
So if Hertl earned all this ire for scoring a beautiful, flashy goal that landed the NHL cover time on ESPN, then why didn’t Mike Smith see hell’s gates open up on him for scoring a goal from his crease against the Detroit Red Wings last weekend? Why doesn’t anyone take an issue with that?
The Phoenix Coyotes had blown the doors off the Wings. They’d come back from a 0-2 deficit and were leading the game 4-2 with less than 10 seconds left to play. Detroit wasn’t coming back, and they dumped the puck in on Smith with time winding down. Instead of just killing the last few seconds, he drops the puck, sends it down the length of the ice and scores a goal. As a goalie. To add a fifth goal to a score that was already out of hand.
Where’s Cherry’s negative response to that “showboat” type of goal? There wasn’t one.
Did Oates or anyone else around the league pipe up to condone Smith for “embarrassing the game” or being “disrespectful” with his antics? Nope. Not a peep. Nadda. Nothing.
Let me be clear here. I don’t have an issue with Hertl’s goal, and I don’t have an issue with Smith’s goal. I have an issue with the clear double-standard. I just can’t help but shake the feeling that if it had been Antti Niemi that sent the puck down the ice with less than five seconds remaining, we would have heard a few negative opinions about it.
Since it was Smith though, it’s kosher.
So honestly, what was the difference between the two goals? Why did one draw such a negative backlash while the other didn’t create a whisper? I propose this question to you. Late, but still relevant.
Seriously. What was the difference?