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No Goal Redux: Gary Bettman Admits Mistake

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t very popular in Buffalo.  
He presided over the “No Goal’ travesty that cost the Sabres a chance at the Stanley Cup. And he wasn’t just the league commissioner when this went down. He was in the building. Bettman was sitting in a box in the former HSBC Arena when Brett Hull scored an overtime goal to win Game 6 – and the Stanley Cup – for the Dallas Stars in the 1999 Finals. 
Of course, 1999 was the year the NHL routinely called back goals for the newly enforced “skate in the crease” rule. Until the final goal of that season, that is. Then, for some strange reason, the NHL decided to not enforce the rule and let Hull’s “goal” stand. 
Afterwards, Lindy Ruff commented “Somebody should have called from upstairs and said ‘This is not a goal.’ All I wanted was a review. I wanted Bettman to answer the question of why this wasn’t reviewed. He turned his back on me. It was almost as if he knew the goal was tainted.”  
Well, Bettman went on Costas Tonight last night and essentially admitted the goal was tainted. When asked to list his biggest mistake as commissioner, Bettman listed three. And the second one: the skate in the crease rule. Yes, he said the rule and not the specific Brett Hull ruling. But we all know what he meant but didn’t have the courage to say. 
Jump to the 3:20 mark of the video to hear Bettman’s half-hearted mea culpa. 

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  • LouisTully

    It’s about time. We haven’t revisited this in a while, right? What’s the countdown to the next ‘Wide Right’ rehash?

  • bluedevil

    Check back tomorrow for Wide Right. Well, if Roger Goodell goes on TV tonight and says the kick actually went through the uprights, we’ll have something tomorrow. Otherwise, we won’t.

  • pampiniform

    Well, if I recall correctly, the Sabres went on and blew the rest of that series without the help of bad refereeing.

  • AKBuffalo

    See, this is what I love and hate about Buffalo. The passion, enthusiasm, and dedication, I love. The living in the past and the “woe is me,” I hate. We got screwed, we usually do, but let’s put our big boy pants on and recognize it’s 2012.

  • CGirl

    Then your memory is obviously not very good.

  • EAHS 1972

    Yes, you are terribly mistaken. Hull’s phony goal ended the series and prevented a possible game 7.

  • pampiniform

    Ok, I messed that up. That was the one that ended the game. What I meant was that they blew the rest of that series already by that point.

  • Jay D

    Hi! Im Earth, have we met??

  • suburban_hillbilly


  • Chenango

    The REAL problem that night, were the morons who threw open the zamboni doors that allowed 30 photographers to go running on the ice in a fit of a “sudden death, Stanley Cup win”.
    There was no putting the toothpaste back in the tube at that point, and it was a done deal.
    This is what set Brett Hull’s “in the crease” goal apart from any other similar infraction. Blame the idiots who opened the door.


    Hockey crybabies unite! Get over it already….The game has turned into the joke of major sports,and Buffalo is the punch line.Right up there with soccer and NASCAR.


    “What I meant was that they blew the rest of that series already by that point.”
    By “blowing the series”, are you referring to the Sabres’ Game one OT win — in Dallas?

  • The Boss

    Funny SBSHEMP Soccer and Nascar are probably 2 most popular sports in the world.

  • cookiestastelikesomecookies

    sure we have a hard time getting over this..we got robbed.. but HE BROUGHT IT UP, not us.

  • DMZ

    Please never comment about sports on this site again.

  • pampiniform

    You know, for that, I’m going to comment on every single column again, just to make you happy.

  • Gaustad!

    This could have been the worst call in the history of sports. It has not and will never be forgotten by some of us.
    Its relevance is that a stanley cup championship would have helped the Buffalo economy and perhaps gave us some much needed momentum.
    Moreover, it is a reflection of how pro franchises view Buffalo. The reality is that Buffalo is a small market team; it was better for the NHL at the time to have Dallas win. Therefore the call was never retracted.
    Personally, I think we could have won Game 7