ESPN ran their Superstar Poll and Buffalo Sabres star center Tage Thompson took part in the festivities. But he made one controversial statement.
Tage Thompson is a fan favorite, and some of what he revealed at the ESPN Superstar Poll was spot on. Like most Buffalo Sabres fans, Tage is watching the Detroit Red Wings closely, because that Yzerplan has us all interested, right?
He also endorsed Kyle Okposo to lead an NHL front office after the Sabres captain’s playing days are over. I think we can all agree with these takes so far as Steve Yzerman will always make things interesting for the Red Wings and Okposo’s leadership skills would upgrade any NHL front office, be it the Sabres or someone else’s.
Then he said something that will make you stop in your tracks. The next question talked about rule changes, and ohhhhh boy, what was Tage thinking?
"“I’d probably get rid of the no-goal for kicks. I’d love it if you could kick in a puck. I think that should be a goal. If you have the ability to redirect a pass with your skate or kick it in, I think that’s a skill. I think that’s not an easy thing to do. So, I think that should be a goal for sure. You can kick it anywhere on the ice, except for in the net. So I think it should be a goal. Especially the fact that a lot of times the [defense] ties you up in front of the net and the only thing you can use are your feet.” via ESPN.com"
Source: NHL superstar poll: Must-see players, rule changes and more by Kristen Shilton and
Buffalo Sabres center said what, exactly?
Last season, the Sabres allowed 300 goals, which made for plenty of candidates to land in the “controversial goal” setting. However, the most controversial goal the Sabres allowed all season came against the New York Islanders on March 7th, 2023.
While the Sabres scoring units forgot to show and scored two measly goals amidst an overall bland performance, the Islanders didn’t fare much better in this contest. In fact, many fans have argued that the Isles only scored two real goals because when Hudson Fasching set himself up near the Sabres crease with 7:37 to go in regulation, he saw the puck coming his way, and he kicked it into the net.
Initially, if you remember correctly, the officials called “no goal,” before the play was reviewed, and, ultimately, overturned. It’s ironic to have seen Tage make such a statement when this goal helped the Islanders sneak into the playoffs at 93 points, just two ahead of the Buffalo Sabres.
This is a matchup that would have ultimately put Buffalo into the playoffs had the game remained tied at 2-2 AND if they won in regulation or in overtime with all the remaining games being equal. Had Buffalo lost the contest even if the kick-in goal had not counted, they at least would have lost in a less controversial fashion.
(Historical data provided by Hockey-Reference)