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Sabres Central

Has the Dominator made his last save?
By Rick Anderson
Wednesday, November 3, 1999

Yesterday it was revealed that Dominik Hasek has a 90 percent tear of his right groin muscle and will be sidelined indefinitely. Speculation is that he won't be back until January, at the earliest. That leaves the goaltending duties to rookie Martin Biron and veteran backup Dwayne Roloson.

Marty Biron has huge skates to fill in goal

All this leaves a huge question: Is Dominik Hasek's reign drawing to a close? His retirement may be coming a half year early as the 90% tear of his groin muscle could prevent him from playing again this season. Hasek, who announced his retirement this summer, may have saved the Sabres $8 million if he retired for good at that time. The Sabres could have used that money to acquire a player like Keith Primeau and another averaged priced veteran and would be in better position to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup next June. As it is, the Sabres are stuck with that huge $8 million expense and nothing to show for it.

Hasek had a very difficult time coming back last year when he only pulled the groin. The current injury is much more severe. The big question is whether a player his age, 34, can come back from this kind of injury and perform at the level he did prior to first sustaining his original groin injury last February. The Dominator has not looked like his old self this season, as he won only one game, lost 4 and tied one. In every game he played this season, Hasek has allowed at least one goal that normally he would have stopped. On the play where he injured his groin against Florida, he did the splits in an effort to stop the shot with his right skate, but the puck got past him and into the net. That goal put Florida in front 2-1 with only 33 seconds remaining and when he was helped off the ice, fans booed him because they thought it was another weak goal that he allowed. Little did they realize that Hasek may have been making his final exit from the ice at Marine Midland Arena. So instead of Dominik Hasek making his grand Farewell Tour to praises and applause, he may have departed from the game with a chorus of boos.

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