SAN JOSE — The fuss over Sharks rookie Tomas Hertl's fourth goal of the game aganst the New York Rangers continued Thursday with Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates suggesting it disrespected the game.
But there wasn't any criticism coming from the Vancouver Canucks locker room where center Henrik Sedin seemed to have a bigger problem with the reaction than the goal and netminder Roberto Luongo shrugged off the whole episode.
"It's part of the game. He didn't do anything illegal so its all good," said Luongo, who will face the Sharks tonight when the two teams meet at Rogers Arena.
Sedin seemed puzzled by the concern over Hertl's between-the-legs drop pass to himself and backhand shot that followed.
"I don't know what we're talking about," Sedin said. "He scored a beautiful goal. It was fun to watch. If I were a fan of the game — which I am — I loved it. Is hockey the only sport where if you do something nice, you talk about showboating?"
Later, he drew specific comparisons.
"In any other sport, if it's basketball or football or whatever it is," Sedin said, "if you do something nice and it's a nice move and you get on the highlights, everybody is raving about it, but in hockey you can't do that."
Sedin, who is known for his own creativity with the puck alongside twin brother Daniel, didn't stop there.
"I mean, what should he have done?" he continued. "Come in and shoot off his pads? I don't get it."
Hertl's biggest critic Thursday was Oates, a former high-scoring center himself.
Oates told reporters that he was "upset" by the timing of Hertl's move and that Sharks Coach Todd McLellan did the right thing by benching the 19-year-old rookie for the last eight minutes of the game.
"I'm glad the coach did that because in this league it'll bite you if you're not sharp," Oates said. "Don't disrespect the league. I'm sure it was a rookie mistake."
McLellan, however, said the decision to not play Hertl had nothing to do with concern that the Rangers might try to retaliate.
And while he acknowledged someone may need to mention something to Hertl about goal celebrating at some point, the Sharks coach was unyielding in his defense of his player's scoring technique.
"I can't believe there would be any negative reaction," McLellan said. "If you refer back to 2005, the lockout year, our league, our players, our management were looking for ways to find goal scoring. Our fans want it.
"Now," he continued, "a young 19-year-old comes into the league and scores four goals, can't speak the language, doesn't really understand where he is right now, and we're going to criticize him for that?"