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This Day in Buffalo Sports History<br> June 18, 1998 -- Swords lose Shields

The Buffalo Sabres figured they were about to lose a goalie in the expansion draft of 1998. So they figured they'd get something of value for him first.

Steve Shields went to the San Jose Sharks along with a fourth-round draft pick for a second-round choice and goalie Kay Whitmore. The move came within hours of the deadline for submitting protected lists for the NHL expansion draft.

The move meant the end of Shields' two-year stay in Buffalo, but that doesn't mean he isn't fondly remembered. In fact, he played a big role in one of the most dramatic moments in Sabre history.

When Dominik Hasek was injured during the 1997 playoff series with the Ottawa Senators, Shields came to the rescue. Not only did he win Game Six in Ottawa to keep Buffalo's hopes alive, but then he was the goalie in the first Game Seven the Sabres ever won. Derek Plante scored the winner in overtime to push Buffalo to the next round.

Shields headed off to San Jose, where he was expected to back up Mike Vernon, who had Stanley Cup rings in his collection.

"I've gone from one great situation to another," Shields said when the trade was made. "I've had the chance to learn from the best in Buffalo. Now I'll work with another of the best in Mike Vernon. I'll get to watch and learn every day from a guy who has won two Stanley Cups."

Shields lasted three seasons in San Jose before moving on to Anaheim, Boston, Florida and Atlanta.

-- Budd Bailey

Sports Ink blog at

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