Oates ‘upset’ by Hertl goal: ‘Don’t disrespect the league’

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Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates was none too pleased with Tomas Hertl’s between-the-legs goal in San Jose’s 9-2 rout of the Rangers on Tuesday.

Oates, who said he was “upset” by the goal, said Sharks head coach Todd McLellan was smart to bench Hertl for the final 7:55 of the game, suggesting the 20-year-old rookie might’ve been in line for retribution.

“I’m glad the coach did that because this league, it will bite you if you’re not sharp. Don’t disrespect the league. I’m sure it was a rookie mistake,” Oates told CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley. “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.

“As long as he doesn’t disrespect the league. The league’s hard.”

Oates, 51, has some decidedly old-school views on hockey and he’s not afraid to share them.

In May, he ignited a feud between himself and ex-Rangers head coach John Tortorella by saying he’d “easily” beat up Torts in a fight.

In February, he said he didn’t think NHLers belonged in the Olympics, saying “I grew up trying to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs, not Team Canada.”

(Head-scratching comments given his captain, Alex Ovechkin, can’t wait to suit up for Russia in Sochi next year.)

And, unsurprisingly, Oates doesn’t like the shootout either.

From a March 2013 column in the Washington Times:

Oates said last month that he didn’t like the shootout: “I’m old school.”

“I come from [a time] where if my dad brings me to a game and at the end of the game it’s a 2-1 game and our team ties it up with 30 seconds left and the place is going crazy, isn’t that exciting?” Oates said. “I’m good with that. And all of a sudden you settle it with a home run derby?

“It’s like soccer. How do you play 90 minutes, two extra times and all of a sudden you go to penalty kicks? And I guess that matters too; they’re going to say that’s part of the game.”

Here (again) is the Hertl goal which, it should be mentioned, is still featured on the website of the league he may or may not be disrespecting: