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Fanspeak: Dominik Hasek voted greatest Sabre in franchise history

Aug 28, 2014, 8:21 PM EST

Dominik Hasek AP

This summer, NBC Sports’ social media team is conducting the #NHLGreatest initiative, designed for fans to choose the best player in each franchise’s history. Balloting was conducted through three platforms — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — with thousands of votes being cast. The results of this initiative will be released throughout the month of August, in conjunction with PHT’s Team of the Day series.

Buffalo Sabres

1. Dominik Hasek (1449)

2. Pat LaFontaine (549)

3. Gilbert Perrault (528)

Although he is no longer a member of the squad, Ryan Miller provided the Sabres with superb goaltending for years. Before his era though, the Sabres had an even better goalie playing between the pipes. That’s not a knock on Miller, but few netminders in the history of the game can compare to Hasek.

The Chicago Blackhawks took him in the 10th round of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, but he didn’t make the transition to North America until 1990. By the end of the 1991-92 campaign, Hasek was 27 years old and had only played in 25 NHL games. Chicago already had Ed Belfour so they sent Hasek to Buffalo in exchange for Stephane Beauregard and a fourth round draft pick (which became Eric Daze).

It was in Buffalo that Hasek made a name for himself as he led the league in save percentage an incredible six straight seasons from 1993-94 through 1998-99. He won the Vezina Trophy in five of those six campaigns and claimed it again in his final season with Buffalo (2000-01).

Although he was never able to win the Stanley Cup with the Sabres, he gave it his all, posting a 1.77 GAA and .939 save percentage in 19 games in Buffalo’s 1999 trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

The Sabres later traded him to the Red Wings and he went on to win two championships with them while staying competitive well into his 40s, but there’s no question that he was at his peak during his tenure with Buffalo. He earned the nickname The Dominator, which is appropriate because no goalie could match him while he wore a Sabres’ jersey.

Related:

An infographic on Hasek’s accomplishments

  1. terrier92 - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    Another fan base that got it right

    • dueman - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:00 PM

      Please tell me how a person can be wrong when voting for their favorite player? In other words, who they think is the greatest player for their particular team….

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        A favorite player and greatest player are two different things, for an example, see the results from the Maple Leafs

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:41 PM

        To me, there can easily be a difference between who I think is the best on a team, and who is my personal favorite. The latter might be affected by a personal connection, getting an autograph at an impressionable age, meeting at a public venue, whatever.

      • dueman - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:43 AM

        It’s still opinion orientated, and a person’s opinion is simply that, an opinion. If it was about facts only, then there would be no need for a vote now would there…?

  2. cordellanderson - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Not saying he SHOULD be in the top three, But still, I am surprized that Miller isn’t there.

  3. cordellanderson - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Not saying he SHOULD be in the top three, But still, I am surprised that Miller isn’t there.

    • cantescapekarma - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:56 PM

      No way Miller is in the top 3. I would have been very surprised if he Was there…

    • 19inarow - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:44 PM

      Mogilny, ahead of Miller

  4. coddo2 - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    what about Gilbert Perreault, 17 years in Buffalo and their first Stanley Cup Finals

    • 7mantel - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:13 PM

      Thats because the fans on PHT were not old enough to watch Perreault !

      • buckhome - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:23 PM

        Agree – I automatically thought Perreault

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:49 PM

      One goofy thing about some of these team polls is how some, like this one, only name 3 guys, while others show 6 or 7 guys. (Or Winnipeg’s, which I think was never posted at all.)
      So, where were Rick Martin, Jim Schoenfeld, Rene Robert, Alex Mogilny, etc?

  5. cantescapekarma - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:05 PM

    I’m glad to be able to say that I was fortunate enough to get to see the Dominator play in person (and many times for that matter). He really was amazing to watch. Definitely the best goaltender I have ever seen. His style of play was just mesmerizing! Just when you thought that he was down and (way too) out (of position to make the save), he’d make some ridiculous move to steal the goal. I don’t even know how many games he pretty much single-handedly won for Buffalo during his day. His ability to steal a game is unmatched in my opinion.
    I could see him in a position somewhere in the Buffalo Sabres organization in the future. Come on Terry P, make it happen! (and please let it last longer that Patty Lafontaine’s tenure here…).

  6. hockeydon10 - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Dadoun, you should have included a link to the Hasek Infographic PHT linked to earlier this year.

    http://nbcprohockeytalk.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/hasek-infographic.pdf

    • hockeydon10 - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      My favorite Dominator trivia:

      Held the five best single season save percentages in the 1990s. No other goalie in the 90s did better than his 5th best.

    • Ryan Dadoun - Aug 28, 2014 at 9:39 PM

      Good call. I threw that in at the end of the post.

  7. steelers4385 - Aug 28, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    I used to love Miroslav Satan

  8. westof1club - Aug 28, 2014 at 11:29 PM

    Mogilny

  9. Hard to BeLeaf - Aug 28, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    I agree with #1, Hasek was amazing… but surprised there’s no sign of Mogilny, Hawerchuk or Housley.

  10. blomfeld - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Gather round children and look up … waaaaaay up ! :)

    _________________________________________

    ONCE UPON A TIME …

    there was a hockey team in Buffalo which featured the deadliest and ‘coolest’ line in the entire business called the “FRENCH CONNECTION LINE” … and they were ‘good’ my little friends, actually ‘very’ good … in fact, this line of Quebec ‘born’ players were quite possibly the most ‘quintessential’ expression of red-blooded hockey that man has ever seen ! … yes sir ! … and check this out … had it not been for the gangster ‘thuggery’ of the Philadelphia ‘Pigs’ back in May of 1975, then these ‘cool’ cats would have lead their team to Stanley Cup victory only five years ‘in’ to their franchise’s history ! :)

    *** Top 6 Buffalo Sabres of All Time ***

    1) Gilbert Perreault
    2) Rene Robert
    3) Rick Martin
    4) Jim Schoenfeld
    5) Pat LaFontaine
    6) Dominik Hasek

  11. spacealbatross - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:20 AM

    Perreault was an amazing player and is probably the franchise most iconic player for sure. But as far as Forwards go he is not even in the top 10 of all-time. Hasek on the other hand, didn’t play as long, or have the same admiration that Perreault had. But in the opinions of many he is the greatest Goaltender in history, and certainly in the top 3 no matter who you ask. Therefore he is the Greatest Player in Buffalo Sabres history. Not the most liked or most tenured, but without a doubt the Greatest.

  12. luz56 - Aug 29, 2014 at 4:48 AM

    Hasek by far was dominant ….the term “great” is overused by fans and media alike..Hasek and Perrault, were great…

  13. isithockeyseasonyet - Aug 29, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    My team faced him in the playoffs numerous times and I hated it, never felt like they were gonna score over a goal, I agree w the post above of the term ‘great’ being tossed around too much but this guy really was great

  14. rainyday56 - Aug 29, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Bill Hajt! (Meeker loved him!)

  15. vancouversportsbro - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Easy choice. Not only did he drag an average Buffalo team to game 6 double OT but he also won a gold medal for his country over Canada in that shootout.

  16. djshnooks - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Blomfeld you’re a special kind of idiot.

  17. zinger99 - Aug 29, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Blomfeld nailed it. And Hasek was just too overrated. If Hasek played for them in 1975,Philly would have swept to the cup.

  18. zinger99 - Aug 29, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Trivia time-Name the only Sabre goalie in team history to physically attack a sports writer.

  19. zinger99 - Aug 29, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    …still waiting.

    • bullwinkle88 - Aug 29, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      You have to remember the reporter was Bucky Gleason. If anyone deserved a punch to the nose, it was him.

  20. bullwinkle88 - Aug 29, 2014 at 9:22 PM

    I was 25 when Perreault came to the NHL. I watched his entire career, as I did Hasek’s. Hasek always let that odd goal in when it really counted – the playoffs.

    Perreault was absolutely incredible on the ice. If there wasn’t so much clutching and grabbing in the 70’s, he’d have easily exceeded 600 goals.

    Perreault was Buffalo’s best IMO.

  21. zinger99 - Aug 29, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    No,it wasn’t Bucky Gleason. It was the late Jim Kelley.

  22. vancouversportsbro - Aug 30, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    You guys are crazy making these accusations about Hasek on how he would be if he played in the 70s. In the early 90s he was hands down the best goalie on earth. He won multiple hart trophies, something that would be unthinkable today of a goalie to do. He was that good. Not only was he flat out dominant in net in the NHL but he also won his country a gold medal, like I said, over that stacked Canada team. I can play the game and say if he wasn`t in net in that shootout no doubt Patrick Roy and Canada win that game. He owned Patrick Roy in two huge, huge games. 2001-2002 to win his first cup and the olympics. Yet people say Roy is clutch. Hasek is one of the top five goalies ever. I never saw Perreault but I really do not know if you can say he was the best Sabre ever.

  23. zinger99 - Aug 30, 2014 at 7:14 AM

    Hasek blew his chance to shut everyone up by not winning a cup in Buffalo. He was badly outplayed by Ed Belfour. He went to a ready made team in Detroit and got his name on the cup that way. You or I could have played in net for them and won. Hasek was strictly regular season. Being European,I’m sure he cherishes his gold medal more than a Stanley Cup anyway.

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