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In my opinion, the Sabres demise so far this season has been because of Hasek, or the lack of him. Sure, there are other reasons that could be fitted into the equation, but I feel that Hasek's absence is the greatest.

The Sabres will admit, as would many fans, that they're not an offensive juggernaut. With that said, they relied heavily on Hasek to keep them in games in which Buffalo needed to score four or more goals but wasn't likely to do it. The Sabres' players knew they had Hasek in net to keep their opponents from scoring like crazy. So, their minds were at ease while they played terrific defense but so-so offense. That wasn't bad at all because with Hasek as their goalie, they didn't have to score a lot of goals to win a game. Sometimes one or two would suffice! And on top of that, just Hasek's presence on the ice poured fear into opponents' minds and psyches.

Only good things could happen if Hasek returned as Buffalo's netminder. Would the Sabres win the Stanley Cup then? Maybe, maybe not, but we'll never know unless you know who suits up and steps out onto the ice.
Valdosta, Ga.

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