Saturday, June 19, 2010

June 19, 1999: No Goal

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Do you see a rules violation?

If you're from Buffalo, that picture just made you either throw up a little bit in your mouth or get red with anger. I mean, how could anybody not see that Brett Hull's skate was clearly, obviously, painfully in the crease, while the puck clearly was not? It's as plain as day! That goal should not have counted, and that's that. Play on.

If you're from Dallas, you're ecstatic. That picture is a thing of beauty, the image that captured the goal that gave your franchise its only Stanley Cup. And you don't care about the skate in the crease - you point out that the rules at the time said that since Hull had control of the puck, it didn't matter that his skate was in the crease. And you point to the NHL's official stance, that Hull's two shots at Dominic Hasek comprised one single possession, so he was not in the crease illegally. So we should stop raining on your parade.

If you're from Buffalo, you're even more furious. You point out that the NHL changed that double-shot rule in the offseason, because of how badly the officials and the League butchered its interpretation on Hull's shot (you refuse to call it a goal).

If you're from Dallas, you shrug and point to the NHL official who commented that the rule was interpreted correctly, and that the NHL was planning to change that rule in the offseason anyway. Then you go celebrate again.

If you're from Buffalo, it's just another example of how your city's sports teams get screwed. I mean, the Bills are clearly cursed - four Super Bowl losses, plus being on the losing end of the Music City Miracle (and if that was a lateral, I'm a dolphin) - and now this. And it's too bad, too, because Hasek played his ass off those entire playoffs, coming as close as anybody really can to winning the Stanley Cup by himself. He was so good, Dallas had to cheat to beat him. You're going to go swimming by Niagara Falls now to clear your mind.

If you're from Dallas, you're laughing. I mean, the last two of Buffalo's Super Bowl losses were to Dallas, and now this. And most people in your city didn't care about hockey even 10 years earlier. This is just too good. And why couldn't people remember Game 6 for what it was - a truly classic 3 overtime thriller, capping an extremely memorable series? Why does it always have to be about whether the goal was legal? And wasn't it fitting that it was Hull who scored, the Hall of Famer finally getting his Stanley Cup after 13 seasons? What a great ending!

If you're from Buffalo, you're now physically attacking the person from Dallas. This could get ugly. Let's just drop it before somebody gets hurt.

June 19, 1986: RIVERDALE, Md. - In an instant, it can all be taken away. Len Bias was on top of the world. He had just become the number 1 pick in the draft - going to the defending champion Celtics, no less. He was the most dominating college basketball player in years, an absolutely fearsome forward who was ready to revolutionize the game. When he was picked first on June 17, it looked like nothing could stop him. Cocaine. After returning from Boston and all the festivities afforded him as the number 1 pick - including a reported $3 million deal with Reebok - Bias returned to Maryland. He went to an on-campus party, left to go to an off-campus apartment, took cocaine, and died. The University of Maryland went into shock. More than 11,000 people went to the memorial service. The Celtics were devestated. They had just come off a dominating championship season; it took them 22 years to win another title. Bias went from the top of the world to the grave in just two days. A promising athlete, taken away in an instant.

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