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.