Dominik Hasek belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Hasek is arguably the best goalie to have ever played the game and statistically the best Sabre of all time. Dominik Hasek was also a complicated player who helped force out Ted Nolan as Coach and caused turmoil in the Sabres locker room.

Hasek joined the Sabres in 1992 coming to Buffalo through a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago had no idea what they had in their backup goalie and neither did John Muckler when he brought Hasek to Buffalo. Hasek’s unorthodox style made him an outsider to most goalie coaches in the league and no one had him pegged to be a NHL star.

Well Dominik Hasek was indeed a star and when the dust settled he had a body of work that stood up against any goalie to have ever played the game. However, for those who remember Hasek’s career in Buffalo they know that the “Dominator” could be a moody and at times irrational individual who marched to his own drum.

There are players who felt Hasek quit on his team in 1997 when he suddenly left the ice and said he was injured in the playoff series against Ottawa, which Buffalo won four games to three. Hasek was then unavailable in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals and Buffalo dropped a 4-1 series to the Flyers.

In the aftermath Hasek attacked Buffalo News hockey beat reporter and future Hall of Famer in his own right, Jim Kelley. Kelley has questioned the severity of Hasek’s injury and Dominik took exception. Then the turmoil following that season saw Nolan and John Muckler leave and Ruff and Regier take over as coach and GM.

Then when Hasek wanted out of Buffalo he was traded to Detroit in 2001 and proclaimed that he would be a Redwing for life. That announcement came the day he signed with Detroit and he had to play a single game!

Still, looking back on the career of Dominik Hasek as a Sabre one can’t overlook his unbelievable skill and exciting play. Hasek on many nights single handily defeated the opposition, especially in the mid 1990’s.

When the Sabres made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 against Dallas it was Hasek who evened the odds against a bigger and better stars team.  The now famous “no-goal” by Brett Hull shows his skate in the crease as Hasek lay spread out on the ice like a snow-angel.

Buffalo is fortunate to have had an athlete the caliber of Dominik Hasek to play in front of us night in and night out. Congratulations to the “Dominator” and let the good memories win out.


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