With late-night highlight reels and NHL goal-of-the-year talk out of the way, Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates weighed in on Tomas Hertl’s between-the-legs, showboat goal at the end of the San Jose Sharks’ 9-2 blasting of the New York Rangers Tuesday night.
The 19-year-old’s fourth goal of the game immediately ended the Czech centre’s night – something Oates saw as an indication Sharks coach Todd McLellan knew what was in store for the 2012 first-round pick.
“I’m glad the coach did that because this league, it will bite you if you’re not sharp,” Oates told CSN Washington. “Don’t disrespect the league. I’m sure it was a rookie mistake.
“Great move, don’t get me wrong — it’s a shootout move or something, and it’s great. I’m glad the way San Jose treated it.”
Hertl’s head coach agreed with Oates’ sentiment, but chalked it up to passion and inexperience over hot-dogging.
“It’s probably not a real good celebrating time, but he’s so innocent that he’s excited about doing it,” McLellan told reporters, “and sometimes that passion is a good thing to have.”
NASH SENT HOME
Rangers forward Rick Nash returned to New York after receiving a hit to the head from San Jose Sharks defenceman Brad Stuart Tuesday night.
The Rangers were without the star winger Thursday night in Anaheim and will reportedly be without the 29-year-old Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues.
Stuart was suspended three games Wednesday and will forfeit more than $55,000 as a result.
"It's not ideal, that's for sure," Rangers centre Brad Richards told NHL.com. "That's about all I can really say. We want (Nash) back. We need him, but we don't have him … We can't dwell on it. We hope he's back as quick as possible, obviously.”
Nash played several shifts after the hit Tuesday night but left the game and didn’t return for the second period of the Rangers’ 9-2 loss to the Sharks.
“I have a headache,” Nash said following the game, according to MSG Network. “It got worse. It was a head shot. I’m concerned the way it feels.”
Nash has a history of concussions, but there was no immediate word on his condition or when he might return to action.
The Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning announced Thursday the creation of the Governor’s Cup, a season series between Florida’s two NHL teams that will see the winner take home the trophy ... The Phoenix Coyotes have placed former first-round draft pick Chris Summers on waivers.