At the age of 43 Dominik Hasek has finally decided to call it a career, this time it will be for good (we think). Hasek started the playoffs as the Red Wings starting goalie but a few sub-par performances in the first round relegated him to the bench. He watched the rest of the playoffs from the bench while Chris Osgood received all the accolades for playing well in the playoffs and guiding the Red Wings to another Stanley Cup title. It must have pained him to watch from the bench but he will still get his name on the Stanley Cup once again.
There is no denying that he will forever be etched in Sabres history, the question is where? There is no denying the effect he had on the Sabres franchise and the fact that they relied on him for years. He is undoubtedly the best goalie and quite possibly the best player(although you would get an argument from some players, namely Gilbert Perreault) to wear a Sabres uniform, yet he does not get a lot of recognition in Buffalo because he left on bad terms.
How will the fans react to him now that his career is finally over and we can look back at what he did for the franchise for nine seasons. He won numerous awards throughout his career but it wasn't until he forced his way out of Buffalo and went to Detroit that he won a Stanley Cup. In addition to him forcing the Sabres to trade him away, there were many people who questioned his commitment to the team and to the sport. There were plenty of times in his career that coaches and teammates thought he was healthy enough to play and he deemed himself medically unfit to play. I guess we will never know just how serious those injuries were but many people will continue to question his commitment.
There is no questioning whether or not he will be inducted into the Pro Hockey Hall-of-Fame located in Toronto, Ontario. He will be a first ballot guy without question. The Hall-of-Fame voters do not take into account the guys commitment to his team they look at stats and Dominic has them all. He is the all-time leader in save percentage with a .922 and he is in the top 10 in Goals Against Average, Saves and shutouts. You don't get left out of the hall with that type of resume.
The big question is whether or not the Sabres choose to honor him, this season or in the near future. Once again there is no denying that he deserves it but will the team be able to forget the conditions he left on. It is also a question as to whether Dom wants to come back to be honored. When he left Buffalo, he was just as upset with the team as the team was with him.
I have been trying to figure out exactly how I feel about Hasek and I honestly struggle to figure it out. As I mentioned above, it is impossible to forget everything he did for this franchise while he was here but it is equally hard to forget what he did to this franchise upon his departure. He made it public that he wanted to leave because the team was not committed to winning, I think that feeling still surrounds this team amongst NHL players. He could have very easily kept quiet but he didn't. I need help figuring out his place in history, leave comments to help me make a decision.
More reaction to Hasek's retirement...