Now that Dominik Hašek has officially been retired for a year, the argument over his status in the Buffalo Sabres organization can officially begin.
There are those who do not want to see his numbers raised to the rafters because of the way he left Buffalo. For those of you who are unaware of the situation, Hašek departed the Sabres organization after the 2000-2001 season because he felt that the Sabres were incapable of winning a Stanley Cup before he retired—a sentiment which has now been proven correct.
Some say that the bad blood that was created when he left is reason enough to deny him the honor of joining the French Connection in the HSBC Hall of Fame. However, in the end his status should come down to what he did not how he left.
One glance at Hašek 's body of work automatically qualifies him for the NHL Hall of Fame, so why should the Sabres deny him the similar prospect?
Hasek was the cornerstone of the 1999 Stanley Cup run that ended on a blown call by the referees. I don't care what anyone says—the rule was that the player cannot be in the blue ice. His skate was in the ice. That is no goal.
In nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Hašek acquired over 25 franchise records, including most all-time games played, wins, shutouts and lowest goals-against average. He also holds the Sabres' record for most shutouts in a single season with 13 in 1997–98, and lowest goals-against average in a single season with a total of 1.87 in 1998–99.
During the Detroit Red Wings' championship run in 2002, Hašek set franchise records for most games played, minutes played, wins and shutouts in a playoff year.
He holds several notable NHL records including highest career save percentage, most games played by a European-born goalie and most shut outs in one month. He is sixth on the all-time list in shut outs with 81 and 10th in wins with 389. He is also eighth in lowest GAA with 2.20 for his career.
His six Vazina Trophies say it all. Everything about him screams Hall of Fame. It would be a shame to see the HSBC rafters left bare of number 39 because of his desire to win a Stanley cup.