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By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000
The controversy has raged for more than a year. Was Brett Hull's Game 6, triple-overtime goal against the Sabres, which clinched the 1999 Stanley Cup for the Stars, a legal one?
That was when NHL refs were supposed to strictly enforce rules prohibiting goals when anyone other than the goaltender was in the crease. Hull's skate was there, all right, but Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said last week -- when Dallas visited Buffalo for the first time since that game -- that the goal was within the rules.
"Oh, yeah, no question," Hitchcock said. "And the reason we had no question in our mind was we had the same thing explained to us with the Pat Verbeek situation" in the Western Conference final against Colorado. "It was explained to us in detail because we were livid."
Verbeek, then with the Stars, scored a goal against the Avalanche in Game 2 that was negated because a skate was in the crease. But Stars general manager Bob Gainey found a passage in the rule book that said if a player had possession of the puck outside the crease, brought the puck into the crease and had his foot in the crease before the goal is scored, the goal should be allowed.
Officials reportedly told Gainey he was right and Verbeek's goal should have counted.
"The best thing about this is that over a year later, you guys are still talking about it," Hitchcock said. "That's going to enhance that playoff series and make people remember it even more."
NO LOOK: Hitchcock said he has never watched Game 6 on videotape in its entirety.
"I have enough Civil War stuff if I want to live in the past," he said. "You start reminiscing and you're in trouble. You can do that when you're retired."
SOPHOMORE JINX: New Jersey's Scott Gomez is in a scoring funk -- Thursday night's overtime winner against the Bruins notwithstanding -- and it is affecting his off-ice mood.
Teammates said last season's Rookie of the Year has been sulky. Teammates said Gomez's upbeat attitude is what makes him a good player.
"When things are going well, Gomer is the most laid back, easygoing guy," wing Randy McKay said. "He's not thinking about his game, just playing. But when the points weren't coming right away, he started thinking too much. I think he was too uptight about himself."
Said Gomez, who had three goals and seven assists in his first 18 games: "(Devils center) Bobby Holik keeps telling me that the second year is always going to be tougher. But sophomore jinx? No. To me, that's when you're doing nothing and you feel like you've forgotten how to play this game. I haven't even come close to that."
(THE DREADED) VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: That's what Anaheim coach Craig Hartsburg got from general manager Pierre Gauthier after the Mighty Ducks' winless streak went to eight Wednesday night against the Avalanche.
"First, the coach is not going to get fired," Gauthier said. "I know that (talk) has started. I'm going to kill that right away. That's not the solution, and that's not the problem."
Talk also has started that Anaheim could trade Teemu Selanne or (much less likely) Paul Kariya.
Again, Gauthier: "Second, we're not going to start again with the rumors of one of the top players being traded. ... This is our coach. These are our players. And you know what? Let's get the job done. That's the best solution."
SULTAN OF WHAT?: Craig Adams' goal Nov. 10 in Carolina's 3-1 victory over the Maple Leafs was the first of Adams' career and the first scored in the league by a native of Brunei. Adams, whose parents are British, was born in 1977 in Seria in the oil-rich, independent Islamic sultanate on the island of Borneo. (Brunei achieved independence in 1984 after having been a British protectorate since 1888.) The family moved to Calgary when he was 2.
ODDS AND ENDS: Philly's John LeClair could resume playing this week after Oct. 21 disc surgery. The Flyers offered LeClair a four-year, $38-million contract extension, but it seems LeClair is set on trying free agency. ... Left wing David Kaczowka, who plays for Regina of the Western Hockey League and is a Thrashers property, has 144 penalty minutes in 18 games. ...
Why did Edmonton trade Bill Guerin, the best right wing in the league, to Boston for Anson Carter? Money, money, money, money. Guerin makes $3.125-million this season and will want at least that in a one-year deal for next season while he waits for unrestricted free agency in 2002. Carter will make $1.3-million this season (pro-rated because of his holdout) and $1.8-million next season. ...
The Penguins are known as an offensive team but have given up three goals or less in all but three games. ...
Toronto defenseman Bryan Berard, recovering from a serious eye injury, said there is a "50-50" chance he will return to the NHL. ...
How long can the Avalanche keep winning with center Peter Forsberg (ribs), left wing Chris Drury (sprained knee) and right wing Adam Deadmarsh (concussion) out indefinitely? See Saturday's scores. There's your answer.
- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.