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ROLOSON, FRUSTRATED OVER LIMITED ROLE, PUSHING FOR TRADE

Goaltender Dwayne Roloson wants out of the Sabres organization, and the sooner the better.

Roloson is frustrated over the limited role he's played during Dominik Hasek's injury and envisions being used infrequently by the Sabres again next season, even if Hasek retires.

He has asked the team to trade him.

"They don't really give a damn about me, basically," Roloson said. "It's wait and wait. It's like they're saying, 'It doesn't matter if he doesn't play, so who cares? We don't see any future in him.' That's what it seems like right now, and that's how they are treating me right now.

"Looking at management, they said they would try to trade me all year, and it doesn't look like they've tried too hard," he said.

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff recently said Martin Biron has played better than Roloson and deserves to see most of the action. Statistics back that up. Roloson has a goals-against average of 4.76 and a save percentage of .817 in his last four games. That's a major drop from his season averages -- 2.84 goals-against and .884 save percentage.

"It's been a mentally frustrating year," Roloson said. "That's the toughest part. I thought I played well last year when I did get a chance to play. When Dom went down, I thought I'd get a chance. Obviously that's not what management wanted. Everything went downhill from there.

"As a player, that's really frustrating. You want to get the opportunity to help your team, and you can't. You just sort of get frustrated, and it's hard. You have to battle through it."

Roloson, the team's second-string goalie throughout the season, figures to drop to third-string when Hasek returns from a groin injury. While Roloson isn't saying he should be a starter, he made clear he thinks he deserves more playing time.

General Manager Darcy Regier said he believes the goalie's frustrations have reached a boiling point.

"I suspect it is that," he said. "That's one of the difficulties of that position and his circumstances.

"The best way to explain it is to look at our situation," Regier said. "Dom is still an unknown (with his injury). Marty (Biron) is here. Dwayne plays, despite his frustrations and concerns. Obviously we feel he's important to keep here."

Roloson, 30, is in the middle of his second season as a Sabre. He was signed as a free agent in the summer of 1998 and served as Hasek's backup last season.

When Hasek suffered his injury Oct. 29, Roloson thought it would be a chance to show what he could do. However, Biron has received most of the duty, and Roloson has started back-to-back games only once.

With Hasek about ready to return, Roloson's situation becomes even more tenuous. Biron, the league leader in shutouts (five), has earned a spot in the NHL with his play during the last three months. Do the Sabres put Roloson on waivers in the hopes no one will claim him so he can be sent to Rochester? Does Biron, who does not have to clear waivers to go to the minors, go instead?

"Who knows what's going to happen?" Roloson asked. "I'm not management, so I don't know what they are going to do. My agent and I have to discuss what the game plan is . . . We have to be prepared for any situation they throw at us."

Roloson also is affected by the uncertainty over whether Hasek will retire after the season. If the Sabres protect both Hasek and Biron in this summer's expansion draft, they still would have to expose one experienced goalie. The only candidate in the organization is Roloson.

"At this point, given the current situation that Dom's (health) situation is unknown, we have to stay in the status quo," Regier said. "We go from day to day."

If Hasek returns for the 2000-01 season, Roloson -- a restricted free agent this summer -- would rather go to Europe than be a third-stringer in Buffalo. Even if Hasek heads for the Czech Republic this summer, Roloson still wants out.

"I don't think it's going to be worthwhile to come back here," he said. "It's a bad thing to say, but it's reality. If Dom retires, then they are going to play Marty like they did this year. You can get shelled one game and you still come back and play the next game. That's just reality.

"People think 'He's making lots of money. He shouldn't be saying too much.' But it's like any other job. If you get used the way I have been used this year, you'd get frustrated, too. I'm not trying to whine, but that's the situation I've been in all year.

"If I get a chance to go to another team, that would be great."

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