On Tuesday night the Buffalo Sabres went into San Jose as the biggest underdog the NHL had seen in years and yet they came out as victors. Only problem is most feel on Wednesday morning they shouldn't have.
The Sharks scored what appeared to be the game-winner in overtime only it didn't count. It seemed like the problem was that the play, where Tommy Wingels shoved the puck across the line under Ryan Miller, wasn't recognized at first by either the San Jose or Buffalo broadcasts and thus Toronto missed it too.
Well if you're to believe the NHL on Wednesday, it wouldn't have mattered had the folks in Toronto seen the video anyway. It still wouldn't have counted. Senior Vice President of Hockey Operation Mike Murphy told Elliotte Friedman of the CBC that the infamous intent to blow the whistle was in play.
"[Referee Mike] Leggo waves it off when the puck hits the post and starts to come to the net as a scramble develops. [In the NHL's video review room in Toronto] we're still looking at the puck off the post, then see the play with Leggo approaching net, putting the whistle in his mouth and he waves aggressively.
"The optics would have been better if we got him to put on the headset and asked what he was seeing ... We spoke after the game, I told him it did go in, we probably would get some pushback and should have gotten him over [to the headset] for the optics of the review."
"Had we called a goal against Buffalo it would have been wrong, because it shouldn't have been a goal," he said. "We should have done the headsets, because any controversy would have died. This type of play is not a rarity."
Indeed, the optics of it do look bad. What makes it even worse is how it sounds; the whistle comes in well after the puck is in the net. If there was intent to blow the whistle while the puck was in the crease after hitting the bar then it sure took the referee a long time to actually blow the whistle and sadly to say, it doesn't look like he was fumbling with it in his hands or anything.
Sometimes it's OK to simply admit a call was missed. It happens so fast on the ice it's forgiveable every once in a while, because this reasoning just don't seem to fit the play here. While it would sting the Sharks, mistakes happen, the Sabres sure know a thing or two about that.
In the end it doesn't seem like the biggest deal in the world, one point isn't going to keep the Sharks out of the playoffs nor will the extra point help the Sabres to anything better than last place this season. However in the Pacific Division one point, and especially one Regulation/Overtime Win, could loom large.