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Barrasso's true colors show on air

Friday, April 21, 2000

From wire dispatches

There are times when you would swear that Tom Barrasso was his own worst enemy. But Wednesday night, it was Barrasso who did the swearing.

Barrasso, the former Penguins goaltender, was hailed as the hero in both games this week as the Ottawa Senators mounted a comeback from a 2-0 deficit to tie their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But while Barrasso was the star in Games 3 and 4 at Ottawa, he was branded the goat in Games 1 and 2 at Toronto after allowing the same kind of soft goals that led to the Penguins' ouster in playoff series against the New York Islanders in 1993, the Florida Panthers in '96 and the Maple Leafs last year.

After Barrasso's strong performance Wednesday night, Scott Oaks of the Canadian Broadcasting Company asked Barrasso if he had heard any of the criticism after the first two games.

"Well, I was the star of the game in Game 1, and we scored one goal in Game 2," said Barrasso.

And then he swore on the Hockey Night on Canada broadcast.

"I really couldn't give a shit what you [media] people have to say," said Barrasso, whose abrasive manner and surly disposition caused teammates in Buffalo to applaud after he was traded Nov. 12, 1988 to the Penguins.

"This is my life. I chose to do this. It's been a very hard year with the passing of my father. Frankly, this is important to me. I don't really care what you people have to say about it."

The Penguins sent Barrasso to Ottawa just before the March 14 trade deadline, a little more than a month after he berated Jean-Sebastien Aubin for coming out of a game after Aubin, a rookie, was injured in a collision. The Penguins led Edmonton, 2-0, when Barrasso replaced Aubin early in the third period, but the game ended in a 2-2 tie.

Maple Leafs defenseman Cory Cross, whose misplay led to the Senators' winning goal Wednesday night, responded to Barrasso's use of profanity.

"I don't think I can say the swear words that went through my mind [when I blew the play]," Cross said.

"Oh well, that's Tommy. I've got a little class."

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