Hasek, Linden were polar opposites
There were two significant retirements in the NHL this week and combined they give a certain insight into just how this league works.
He was also, shall we say, difficult. I don't say this just because Hasek and I had an altercation outside the locker rooms in HSBC Arena during one of his more memorable playoff runs, but because Hasek was a superstar who knew he had clout and knew that he could use it.
It was Hasek who got popular coach
Nolan, at those same ceremonies, had just accepted the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.
There were other reasons the Sabres managed to push Nolan out of Buffalo despite the in-the-streets protests from fans and even the wife of the team's recently-deceased owner, but Hasek's was the statement that made it a must-do. In essence, Hasek said very publically that it was either him or Nolan. The coach would later have to wait nearly a decade before he got back in the game.
Contrary to some published reports, Hasek forced his own way out of Buffalo in a messy "divorce" in which he orchestrated his trade to Detroit and only Detroit by telling Sabres general manager
Regier confirmed all of this shortly after the deal went down, explaining why the Sabres only received a player (
Hasek used the retirement ploy several times in his career. Coming back from one caused serious problems in Detroit when his return forced out veteran
There were also issues with Ottawa in regards to playing or not playing hurt and, eventually, Hasek re-signed with Detroit.
In the end, Hasek had a stellar career and one could make an argument that along the way he did whatever he felt was right both for him and his family. When you are that good in a sport where goaltending is the most important position, you usually can get your way even if others get hurt or damaged in the process.
Contrast that to
Ironically, Linden had almost as many problems with players as Hasek had with various members of management. Linden was accused by many of moving too quickly and working to closely with
It was something of a bitter pill for Linden who thought he was acting in the best interest of the majority of the players who had expressed to him very clearly that they were prepared to go one year without hockey, but no longer. In the end, Linden delivered a deal that ended the lockout after one year and has been very good for the players, but there is still a feeling among the more militant faction that he did them no favors.
None of that took away from the fact that Linden was a fan favorite in Vancouver, embraced as much for his charitable and community work as for his heart and soul approach to the game on the ice. Hasek, meanwhile, was the source of so much fan discontent after the Nolan debacle that Sabres management pumped in electronic cheers to cover the booing in the arena for a time. Hasek also did and still does charitable work in Buffalo, but he angered a huge block of his fan base when he said that if he got into the Hall of Fame, he would go in as a Detroit Red Wing.
Ironically for Linden, his actions also irked a great many player agents -- and the Canucks recently hired a former player agent,
Proof positive that no matter how well-intentioned or loyal a hockey player is to team or teammates, when the end comes it's usually the same for a Linden as it is for one like Hasek.
Truly a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world.
The firing of
Crawford's perceived inability to work with young players is one of the reported reasons he was let go by the Kings after two non-playoff seasons, but the specter of the trial (Crawford has been accused by both Moore and Bertuzzi of having ordered the attack) has a lot of hockey people nervous and it's unlikely any of them would put him on a payroll until the matter is resolved.
By the time that is concluded, Crawford may find he's been away too long.
The Toronto Maple Leafs made a nifty move to get the pressure off newly-hired coach
That should end, for a time at least, repeated stories and questions as to whether Wilson was hired in anticipation of GM
That may happen, but the Leafs made a point of saying that there will be several well-regarded GMs whose contracts expire at the end of the upcoming season and that the field will be plentiful in regards the interview possibilities.
Burke is one of those GMs, but so is Buffalo's
General manager's contracts are often a closely guarded secret, but by opting to invest a full season in interim GM