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Brett Hull’s Jab at Sabres Fans is Really a Chance to Heal Old Wounds: Fan Reaction
If you lived in Buffalo during the late '80s and '90s, then a few things are pretty much guaranteed. First off, you're a sports fan. Second, you've got some bad memories. For plenty of Buffalonians, Brett Hull's "no goal" ranks right up there with Scott Norwood's "wide right" Super Bowl kick. Hull's recent twitter antics included a photo of himself wearing a certain t-shirt dedicated to his "friends in buffalo." Needless to say, it's made for some flashbacks.
I spent the better part of my life in Buffalo, where kids like me took to the streets with hockey sticks and rubber balls pretending to be Michael Peca(notes) or Dominik Hasek(notes). We proudly wore jerseys emblazoned with Miro Satan's awesome last name. We sat on the edge of our seats in 1999 as the Sabres looked ready to win a major sports championship for Buffalo for the first time since, well, ever. We watched in horror, screaming "No goal!" as Hull made sure that our championship drought would continue.
The 3-2 Stanley Cup Finals had come down to that one overtime goal, but Hull's left skate was in the goal crease. At the time, any goal scored by a player who was in the crease wasn't supposed to count. Yet there was Hull and his Dallas Stars teammates with their sticks in the air. We were forced to watch the replay in slow motion at the exact same time the Stars were celebrating the Stanley Cup win.
For plenty of fellow Buffalonians at the time, it was worse than Norwood's botched field goal kick in 1991. Norwood tried and missed, fair and square. Hull's goal was an indisputably bad call. Imagine losing a championship and waking up the next day to giant photos showing the world that the game ended prematurely. Nobody who lived in Buffalo at the time and cared at all about the Sabres can deny, it was painful.
Sure, some would eventually insist that the NHL had actually told the teams that crease goals could count as long as the player had control. It didn't matter, It didn't count.
So here's Hull twelve years later pouring salt into the wound, right? Wearing a t-shirt depicting the infamous scene and the words "Brett Hull is a cheater," Hull has a mini Stanley Cup in hand, and a smarmy grin on his face.
I can't say what kind of gut reaction he'll get from fellow fans who remember that game like it was yesterday. For this fan, it's hard to see how Hull's jab could make for anything but an immediate laugh.
That's the first gut-level reaction Hull has gotten out of me ever since a bitter kid in a Satan jersey watched him score that Game 6 OT goal in 1999. It's also the first time I realized I'd actually long since gotten over it.
If you haven't already accepted that unforgettable loss, Hull's message might just make it officially time to move on. In fact, you might want to take a look at the website where Hull got the shirt. Hull has pointed people to BornInBuffalo.net, a site sure to bring a smile to those of us who've ever been called "Buffalonians." Now if only Lindy Ruff could bring home the Stanley Cup…
Taurus Londono grew up in Buffalo, NY. He is a lifelong fan of the Buffalo Sabres.
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