Hasek’s un-retirement could be a bad move
Move over Sugar Ray Leonard, there’s another superstar athlete that is indecisive about ending his career.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek confirmed earlier this week that he will indeed play an additional year because he’d been hurt for most of the season. Hasek’s original plan was to move back to the Czech Republic so his children could get acclimated to the lifestyle change as early as possible.
Hasek has played in only 10 games while compiling a 3-4-3 record in that time, which is hardly Vezina Trophy material (the Vezina is awarded to the top goaltender each year).
Athletes that have rescinded their retirement have not had much luck in proving their worth after coming back, with the exception of Michael Jordan. Ryne Sandberg, Magic Johnson and Reggie White are just a few who have embarrassed themselves in an attempt to relive their glory days.
Granted, Hasek planned on playing this entire year, so his body has not been through the daily tortures of an NHL goaltender (which may bode well for him if the Sabres make the playoffs). Buffalo is currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and three points behind the New York Rangers.
Last year, when the Sabres made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, they went into the playoffs as the seventh seed, so finishing low is not a problem that is insurmountable.
The point behind that is rookie goalie Martin Biron, who wasn’t supposed to see any action until the 2000-2001 season, has been catapulted into the hot seat in Buffalo, and he is being counted on to take the Sabres back to the playoffs.
Biron has been fantastic in guiding the Sabres to 19 wins while shutting out opponents a league-high five times. Buffalo has a bright future with Biron and should trade Hasek to a contender and get some offense for him, which is desperately needed in Buffalo.
The Sabres should wash their hands of Hasek, who can be a nuisance at times with his attitude and supposed injuries. He has already aggravated his groin since coming back, so who’s to say that won’t happen again? Hopefully, for Hasek’s sake, he can get traded to a Western Conference team that can provide him with plenty of goals, so that if his skills do diminish during the offseason, at least he can win games by scores of 5-3 or 6-4.
I have always been a firm believer in sticking to your decisions, since there was a reason that you made them in the first place. For Hasek, I just hope he doesn’t embarrass himself.
– The Washington Capitals are playing as if their jobs depended on it. Quite frankly, it probably does thanks to new minority owner Michael Jordan.
Jordan may be the most competitive athlete in the world and will not accept losing by any organization he is involved with. It took Jordan a week to fire Wizards head coach Gar Heard because his basketball team was playing poorly. Don’t think that Jordan isn’t on the minds of the Capitals, because he will have a say in anything that is costing him money.
The Capitals are on a streak where they have lost just once in 17 games. They have not played this well since their run in the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1997-1998, where they went all the way to the finals before losing to the Detroit Red Wings. Coach Ron Wilson has the best defender/scorer/thug in Chris Simon and has Olaf Kolzig in net to keep his team in most games.
Washington is currently fifth in the Eastern Conference and will play more games at home going down the stretch to solidify their position. If the Capitals can overtake Florida, which is a tall order, or climb to the fourth spot, they will guarantee themselves home ice for the first round of the playoffs.
It would be nice to see Peter Bondra get back to the playoffs, as he is one of the greatest guys and most productive players in the league.
n In a column written about a month ago, I noted that the Colorado Avalanche duo of Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic were playing together for the first time all season, and more importantly, winning hockey games at a frantic pace to give their team some breathing room in the Northwest Division.
How times have changed.
Forsberg went down with a concussion and hasn’t played in almost three weeks. This was never more evident than in Sunday’s embarrassing, humiliating and stunning loss to the hated Red Wings.
With the Avs in front 3-0, and the Red Wings not able to generate any offense, Colorado folded faster than Sergeant Schultz on a coconut macaroon. The Avalanche weren’t able to generate any offense of their own, and before you knew it, Detroit had won the game 4-3.
The loss of Forsberg may end up costing the Avs home ice, or a playoff spot altogether. Two days ago they were in the third spot and now find themselves in seventh due to their collapse.
It only gets harder from here, as the Avs play Dallas twice, New Jersey, the Rangers, St Louis and Edmonton to close out the month. Colorado has no chance if Forsberg and Sakic are not in the lineup together.
The fans in Denver better hope that they get Forsberg back soon, or they will have to do the unthinkable – attend a Nuggets game.
Trevor Smith is the Nevada Appeal hockey columnist.