Last Saturday Ryan Miller passed Dominik Hasek fopr the top spot in Buffalo Sabres franchise history in wins by a goalie. That got me reflecting back on Hasek’s time here. Every couple of years I like to go back and review his Sabres career just so I can once again shake my head in disbelief and remember that I watched one of the greatest players in Sabres history.
Where to start? How about his acquisition? In terms of greatest trades in franchise history this is at or near the top. The Sabres gave up goalie Stephane Beauregard and future considerations to Chicago. Those considerations turned out to be a draft pick used on Eric Daze who was a good player but obviously the deal was one sided.
Hasek spent nine seasons with the Sabres and both his numbers and list of awards is eye popping. Beginning with the 1993-94 campaign, the Dominator(great nickname by the way) put together six straight seasons where his save percentage was no worse than .920. Actually it was .930 or better in five of those six years. Twice he had a goals against average under two. Its not like he wasn’t tested. In two of those seasons Hasek faced more than four thousand shots on goal. In three others there were at least 33 hundred shots on him.
The awards were numerous. I’m guessing there is one room in his home in the Czech Republic devoted to trophies and plaques. Hasek set a modern era record by winning six Vezina trophies, which is awarded to the best goalie. He skated away with the honor in 1994,95,97,98,99 and 2001.
Everyone realized that he didn’t have the most talented teams in front of him which is why he was a five time finalist for the Hart trophy, given to the NHL’s Most Valuable Player. Think about that for a moment. It would be an eye popping accomplishment if a forward had a career where he was a five time finalist. Its even more impressive for a goalie.
Hasek won the award twice, in 1997 and 98, becoming the first net minder to win it multiple times, He also has two Lester B. Pearson awards to his credit, which is the MVP as determined by the players. In addition, Hasek was on the NHL’s First All Star Team in 1994,95,97,98,99 and 2001, his last season with the Sabres.
His two best playoff runs came in 1998 when the Sabres reached the Eastern Conference Finals and the following seasons when they made the Cup Finals. His goals against was under two and his save percentage was .938 in 34 playoff games over those two seasons. Those were offensively challenged clubs. Miroslav Satan was the leading scorer in both seasons with 46 and 66 points respectively.
Even though Miller passed Hasek for wins, Hasek still holds more than 25 franchise records including games played, shutouts and lowest goals against average. Hasek also holds the franchise and NHL record for most saves in a game without allowing a goal. He was 70 for 70 in the epic four overtime playoff win over New Jersey in 1994.