by Mario "Game" Granata
With the move of Ryan Miller to the Blues, we here in Western New York, over the span of 20+ years were witness to some of the most elite goal tending that the world has ever seen. See how Miller and Dominik Hasek stack up side by side.
An era has ended in Buffalo. I am not speaking specifically about the Ryan Miller era, but of an era of goaltending dominance that has spanned back to 1992. Yes, I am bringing back the Dominator. From the 1992-1993 season until last night, we in Buffalo were witness to some of the most exciting and top-notch goaltending that the game has had to offer. 20 seasons here in Buffalo, where no Cups were won, we were still able to see what it was like to have a net minder between the pipes that we could hang our hat on. Unfortunately that ride is over. For the span of 20 seasons, here in Western New York, we watched Dominik Hasek and Ryan Miller showcase some of the most remarkable wins, and jaw dropping saves that the NHL has seen in the history of the game. This Pocket Presence will lean more toward Crease Awareness, then it has in past posts, but nonetheless, it will be a reflection on two of the greatest goalies that the game has ever seen: (Hasek’s Totals are from his time with Buffalo):
Although they are separated largely in part by their end of the season awards, and with Hasek being nominated for 3 other Hart Trophies (MVP), I don’t want to make this about comparing Hasek to Miller, but what they were able to put together with their time in Buffalo, is something that will be remembered by Sabres fans for years to come. 20 years of work from the goalie position, and the Buffalo Sabres, 7 times, had arguably the best goalie in the league. Both of these men were able to shine on the one of the biggest stages of all, the Olympics. In 1998, Dominik Hasek put on a performance that earned him the Gold Medal and the Best Goalie of the tournament. Ryan Miller, in 2010, was voted the MVP of the tournament, just falling short of the Gold, but also being named the Best Goalie of the tournament. So for a point in time, the Buffalo Sabres had the best goalies the world has to offer, and for a small market like Buffalo, that is a nice feather in the cap for the organization, the city and the region.
As a long time Sabres fan, and an even bigger fan of both Hasek and Miller, I am sad to see this era end in Buffalo, because I don’t think that an organization will see a combination like this again. Two of the best goalies ever to play the game, were residents of the 716 for 20 pulse pounding seasons, and as this chapter closes out in Buffalo, a new one will begin. All that is left to be said now is, Thank you for the memories.