June 22, 1999 -- The last thing the Buffalo Sabres felt like doing on this day was to go to a rally ... after losing the Stanley Cup. The Sabres were still smarting from the bizarre loss in the finals to the Dallas Stars, and speaking in public wasn't the players' idea of fun when it was demanded three days later.
It turned out better than anyone expected, and gave the area's hockey fans a catch-phrase that lives on today.
About 20,000 people turned out in Niagara Square that day to honor the Sabres for their memorable run. The area was filled with office workers, parents, chlidren and even some military personnel.
"We do not need instant replay to know that you are champions -- our champions," County Executive Dennis Gorski told the crowd, setting the tone for the hourlong rally.
Play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret introduced Gorski, Mayor Anthony Masiello, Sabres owner John Rigas, general manager Darcy Regier, coach Lindy Ruff and the members of the team. Masiello and Rigas both mentioned that the Sabres planned to be back a year later to celebrate a Cup.
"I know what we have to do, and we're determined to give you the tools to finish the job," Rigas said to the Sabres.
Then Ruff came to the podium. "I still have steam coming out of my ears. And you should have steam coming out of your ears," he said. "I don't think you realize what this means to the team for a party that should have been three days later."
Ruff then exited with two final words: "No goal."
--- Budd Bailey
This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Harvey Johnson, Bills coach - 1919.