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Hasek

Dominik Hasek shuttled between the NHL and the minors for two seasons. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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It was 1992, and Dominik Hasek was beginning to regret his decision to play in North America. After leaving his native Czechoslovakia, he was a 27-year-old backup goalie shuttling between the Chicago Blackhawks and the International Hockey League, stuck behind Ed Belfour, one of the NHL’s best.

“I was thinking about going back to Europe because I was in the minors, I was playing for (the) Indianapolis Ice,” Hasek recalled Monday, hours after being named to the Hockey Hall of Fame …

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Dominik Hasek was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year eligible. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Legendary Buffalo Sabres goalie Dominik Hasek headlines the six-person 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame class announced today.

Joining the six-time Vezina Trophy winner are defenseman Rob Blake, forwards Peter Forsberg and Mike Modano, coach Pat Burns and referee Bill McCreary.

Hasek, of course, was a no-brainer in his first year on the ballot. Some consider the 49-year-old, who spent nine seasons in Buffalo, the greatest goalie ever.

“The Dominator” won two Hart Trophies with the Sabres and two Stanley Cups with the Detroit …

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Drew Stafford and the Sabres play Oct. 11 in Chicago and host the Blackhawks on April 3. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres’ 2014-15 schedule will get busy in a hurry, with the Oct. 9 season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets inside the First Niagara Center starting a stretch of 11 games in 22 days. They then play 14 games in November, their most active month.

Two home games against superstar Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins, a Dec. 9 visit from the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and an April 3 contest against South Buffalo native Patrick …

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Jim Corsi was fired last month. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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Jim Corsi didn’t last long on the open market.

The St. Louis Blues have hired the respected former Buffalo Sabres goalie coach, the team announced today. Ironically, the Blues recently parted ways with goalie Ryan Miller, who spent 12 years under Corsi in Buffalo. The two enjoyed a strong relationship.

The Sabres fired Corsi in April after 16 years. The Blues let goalie coach Corey Hirsch go earlier this month.

The Blues will use prospect Jake Allen and veteran Brian Elliott in net …

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Jim Corsi joined the Sabres in 1998. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – The Sabres have fired or reassigned all of the assistant coaches Ted Nolan inherited from the previous regime.

Jim Corsi, the team’s popular goalie coach since 1998, is gone, the club announced today. So is Teppo Numminen, whose contract wasn’t renewed after three seasons. Joe Sacco and Jerry Forton have been offered new jobs within the organization’s hockey department after just one season with the team.

Nolan replaced Ron Rolston on an interim basis Nov. 13 before signing a three-year …

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Connor Knapp made 22 saves Sunday. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – On March 15, more than 4,000 miles from Buffalo, Sabres goalie Connor Knapp stopped 24 shots in the Alaska Aces’ 4-2 win against the Colorado Eagles in Anchorage.

Twenty-nine days later, Knapp, the sixth goalie on the organization’s depth chart, made his first NHL start in the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

Knapp grew up in York, a small town about 30 miles from Rochester.

“It’s crazy,” the 23-year-old told a throng of cameras and reporters after …

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Dominik Hasek received a special saber for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – One current Sabre, forward Matt Ellis, played with legendary goalie Dominik Hasek, who was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame prior to Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning inside the First Niagara Center.

Ellis played 16 games as a rookie with Detroit in 2006-07, Hasek’s 15th NHL season. Incredibly, Hasek posted a 2.05 goals-against average and .913 save percentage as 42-year-old that year.

“He was a great teammate, someone as a young player coming in watching …

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Dominik Hasek smiled a lot Friday recalling special memories. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – They hadn’t spoken in almost 17 years, since Ted Nolan’s first run as coach ended amid speculation Dominik Hasek, his star goalie, had just quit on the Sabres during the playoffs.

The two, who reportedly feuded, never crossed paths again until Friday.

After Nolan was essentially fired following the 1996-97 season, Hasek kept tending perhaps the best goal in NHL history, piling up awards while winning two Stanley Cups. Nolan, meanwhile, had trouble finding another NHL job.

But Nolan’s back coaching …

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Ted Nolan hadn't spoken to Dominik Hasek since 1997. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Dominik Hasek and Ted Nolan hadn’t spoken in almost 17 years, since Nolan’s first run as coach ended amid speculation his star goalie had quit on the Sabres during the playoffs.

Hasek’s back in town to enter the team’s Hall of Fame Saturday. He said earlier today he wanted to see Nolan.

“I never really ran into him anywhere,” Nolan said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center. “He came down and said hello and we had a …

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Dominik Hasek talks this morning. ©2014, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald
Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald
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BUFFALO – Dominik Hasek swears he’s retired from hockey. The legendary Sabres goalie hasn’t played professionally since his one-year stint in the Russian KHL ended in February 2011.

His goalie equipment, Hasek said, hasn’t left the bag since then. These days, the 49-year-old plays once or twice a week as a defenseman in a rec league back in his native Czech Republic.

“You wake up and you enjoy your life different ways,” Hasek, whose No. 39 will be retired by the Sabres …

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