Imagine the creativity, the processing speed, the hands and the sheer chutzpah it took to do what Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras did Tuesday night in Buffalo.
To be standing behind the net with the puck on your stick and have the neurons in your brain bypass a century-plus of conventional hockey wisdom. To scoop the puck up and flip it over the net rather than try to thread a centering pass to Sonny Milano, completely surrounded by all six Sabres, through the forest of legs and sticks. To have Milano be so in tune with you that he knew what was happening — despite screaming “MICHIGAN! MICHIGAN!” to encourage a lacrosse-style wraparound attempt — and was able to bat it out of the air and into the net.
Man, remember when we thought it was the height of creativity when Mario Lemieux would bank a puck in off the back of a goalie’s leg?
Zegras’ alley-oop assist to Milano was one of the greatest, most creative plays in the history of the sport. It’s gotten tens of millions of views online, creating a possible entry point for countless new fans. It was great. It was fun. It was cool.
So naturally, ESPN talking head and old man yelling at cloud John Tortorella hated it.