By Justin LaDuca
This upcoming Tuesday, the Buffalo Sabres will be retiring the number of one of their greatest players of all time, Dominik Hasek (39). Every Sabres fan can remember Hasek, “The Dominator”. From making incredible sprawling desperation saves, to stopping slap shots with his head, Hasek was one of a kind. Every night he gave Buffalo a chance to win and eventually took them to a Stanley Cup Final in 1999. Cough, cough, no goal. Hasek was truly unbelievable and was a part of one of the greatest trades in Sabres’ history.
In 1992, Hasek was traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Buffalo Sabres for goalie Stephane Beauregard and future draft picks. While in Chicago, Hasek was the backup to star goaltender Ed Belfour, the reason why Hasek was dealed. However, Hasek did not walk into the starting role here in Buffalo. He began his career here as a backup to Grant Fuhr. When Fuhr was injured in the ’92 season, Hasek took over as the starter and went on to become one of the National Hockey League’s elite from that day forward. In his career Hasek has won many NHL awards. They include the…
Hart Memorial Trophy (NHL MVP)– 1997, 1998
Lester B. Pearson Award (Most Outstanding Player in Regular Season)– 1997, 1998
Vezina Trophy (NHL’s Best Goaltender)- 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
He was a member of the 1992 NHL All-Rookie Team and was an NHL All-Star in ’94, ’95, ’97, ’98, ’99, ’01.
Finally, Hasek won two Stanley Cups in 2002 and 2008 with the Detroit Red Wings.
In my opinion, Hasek was the greatest player ever to put on a Sabres’ uniform. It is pretty impressive when a goalie earns the NHL’s MVP award, and even more impressive when he does it twice. Not to mention, he had six Vezina’s, all with the Sabres. He has a a career goals against average of 2.20 and a career .922 save percentage. Hasek was very undisciplined in net. During his time, many goalies used the traditional “Butterfly” stop and drop save technique. Like I said earlier, Hasek sprawled around as if it was routine. Sometimes he would even come out of the crease and take out skaters on a break-away…and make the save. As a MasterCard commercial once said, he had a slinky for a spine.
I do not think we will see another goalie like him again.
Check out this “Beyond Blue and Gold” Youtube feature on him.