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Hasek gets call to Hockey Hall of Fame in first year of eligibility

By John Vogl

Fans in Buffalo knew they were watching someone special whenever Dominik Hasek skated to the crease. They know now they were watching a Hockey Hall of Famer.

The Hall selected "The Dominator" for induction today in his first year of eligibility. There was little doubt the call would come.

"After I retired I really began to appreciate what the game did for me," Hasek said in a release issued by the Hall of Fame. "My goal was just to make the NHL, and achieving this recognition is far beyond what I could have imagined."

Hasek compiled some of the greatest goaltending statistics of all time, primarily while playing in Buffalo from 1992 to 2001. His stay included two Hart Trophies as NHL Most Valuable Player and six Vezina Trophies as top goaltender. Hasek was a six-time First Team All-Star and won a gold medal with the Czech Republic in the 1998 Olympic Games.

The Sabres inducted Hasek into their team Hall of Fame this year and will retire his No. 39 to the rafters next season.

Hasek held every major Sabres goaltending record when he forced a trade to Detroit in 2001, including 491 games and 234 victories. Ryan Miller has since eclipsed those marks, but Hasek is the runaway leader in shutouts with 55.

Hasek had a save percentage of .930 or better in five of his nine seasons with Buffalo, including a .937 in 1998-99 as he led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup final before losing to Dallas. He won two Cups with Detroit before retiring from the NHL in 2008 and the Kontinental Hockey League in 2011.

Chicago drafted Hasek in the 10th round of the 1989 Draft, and he came to Buffalo in August 1992 in one of the most lopsided trades in team history. The Sabres sent Stephane Beauregard and a fourth-round pick to the Blackhawks in exhange for the goalie who had a "Slinky for a spine."

Hasek will join former Sabres players Dick Duff, Grant Fuhr, Clark Gillies, Doug Gilmour, Dale Hawerchuk, Tim Horton, Pat LaFontaine and Gilbert Perreault in the Hall on Nov. 17 at the induction ceremony in Toronto.

Rob Blake, Mike Modano and Peter Forsberg joined Hasek on today's player induction list. Late coach Pat Burns was named as a builder, and Bill McCreary was elected as a referee.

Continue reading "Hasek gets call to Hockey Hall of Fame in first year of eligibility" »

Audio extra: Shero 'walks together forever' with greats in Hall of Fame induction

Fred Shero behind the bench with the Broad Street Bullies at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, circa 1975 (Getty Images).

By Mike Harrington

The Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tonight at 7:30 in Toronto (televised on NHL Network) and it marks a career milestone for Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, Scott Niedermayer and Canadian women's star Geraldine Heaney.

(In a luncheon earlier today, former CBC and Sabres analyst Harry Neale was honored with the Foster Hewitt Award for broadcasting excellent. Amy Moritz spoke with Neale for this story in today's editions.)

Also earning his Hall call tonight posthumously is longtime former NHL coach Fred Shero and he will be represented by his son, Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero.

Here's a great story about Shero's legacy in the game.

Nashville Predators announcer Pete Weber, my good friend and the longtime former Bisons and Sabres radio voice, taped an interview about Shero with his Nashville color analyst and former Shero center Terry Crisp. It's a great, breezy listen at the end of this post (Thanks for the assist, Pete).

Crisp first met Shero in Buffalo, playing for the 1969-70 Bisons that won the AHL's Calder Cup in the team's final season before the Sabres came to town. He then played for both of Philadelphia's Stanley Cup champions, including the 1975 team that beat the Sabres in Game Six at Memorial Auditorium to win their second straight Cup.

The interview includes stories about crazy practice drills, the wild 1976 game against the Central Red Army that saw the Russians walk off the ice for a few minutes, and Shero's famous 1974 blackboard quote before the Flyers' first Cup clincher against Boston: "Win today and we'll walk together forever."

It's great stuff.

Terry Crisp/Pete Weber on Shero

John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |