Hasek to Return to Sabres… as a Player?!? (Plus, some fun Hasek History)

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Don’t shoot the messenger.

hasek sabres 208x300 Hasek to Return to Sabres... as a Player?!? (Plus, some fun Hasek History)

Does Hasek want to party like it's 1999?

Hasek is actively (and vocally) seeking a spot on an NHL roster for next season. He’s already narrowed his choice down to one team. From the Vancouver Sun:

 The 47-year-old netminder, who didn’t play anywhere last season, has confirmed to several Czech publications he’s exploring the possibility of making a comeback to play an 18th season in the NHL.

“I know what I want,” said Hasek, who last played with Spartak Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League during the 2010-11 season.

“I know where I want to play, but I’m not going to talk about it. I think it’s better if you only know there are two sides and that’s enough.

“Now it’s not appropriate to publish anything.”

Hasek’s son Michael still attends Michigan State University and the six-time Vezina Trophy winner confirmed he recently was in the Detroit area visiting his son.

The Czech story said he also visited Buffalo, where he spent the bulk of his NHL career and has a charitable foundation.

“My agent, Ritch Winter, knows what I want,” Hasek said. “We’re working and will see how it goes, I don’t know.

“It’ll probably be decided in June.”

“I train regularly, almost every day, without exception,” Hasek told Isport.cz.

“I’m in great shape and the other sides know it. Of course, if I’d agree (to a contract), I’d go even more intensely by late June or such.

“I still haven’t gone on the ice. I went just before last season, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prepare any differently.”

Logic would tell us that Detroit is the obvious choice here, but there isn’t much logical going on with this decision. Frankly, anything is possible. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was up the QEW jockeying with 4 other netminders for space between Brian Burke’s pipes next season. In any event, it is an interesting developing story to follow in the offseason.

And oh, what does this mean for the Sabres? Right now, nothing, except that if he goes pro, then we will have to wait another year to retire his jersey.

His playing days here were beyond memorable. There was so much just to the spectacle of his play, to the events on and off the ice, that some of them have been lost to history. Yesterday brought one of those more forgotten moments back. Remember May 25, 1998? From the Sports Illustrated vault:

BUFFALO, New York (AP) — The NHL admitted the play that led to the Washington Capitals’ winning overtime goal over the Buffalo Sabres in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals should have been blown dead for icing.

“What?!?” you ask/scream? No. “Figures,” you more likely shrug. This is Buffalo sports, after all. The shrug continues:

(Bryan) Lewis (the NHL Director of Officiating at that time) informed the Sabres that the overtime play should have been blown dead the moment Sabres defenseman Jason Woolley touched the puck. He said the failure to call icing came about because the linesman thought a pass by Washington’s Esa Tikkanen had been released at the center ice line, when it actually had been released before the line.

He also said a non-call for a video replay on a goal by Peter Bondra was “at the referee’s discretion.”

Had referee Kerry Fraser consulted the replay judge, the official could have told him that Bondra’s skate appeared to be in the crease when the goal was scored and the goal, Washington’s first of the game, would have been disallowed.

No Goal, part 1.

Sigh.

A blown icing play and a blown crease call, both in one game. Yup. Peter Bondra had scored the “foot in crease” goal in the 2nd to knot the game at 1. While replays clearly showed that his skate was “in the crease,” referee Kerry Fraser declined a video review.

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Jerk.

To make matters conspiratorial, this was a Buffalo/Washington game – with President Clinton in attendance. You can draw your own conclusions from that. Or you can just allow yourself to laugh over how unendingly stupid the history of sports in this town has been for the past, oh, 100 years or so.

Oh well. There’s always next year. And we just might have Hasek on board for another wild ride.

Go Sabres.

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