BUFFALO, N.Y. - Dominik Hasek has come to realize how much easier it was turning aside pucks than it is accepting honours.Hasek, after all, never had to give any speeches patrolling the crease during a 16-season NHL career.To play hockey was much easier, Hasek said Tuesday. Any time Im standing in front of so many people, not as a hockey player, but as a person, its definitely much more difficult.The player nicknamed The Dominator is getting accustomed to public speaking three years into his retirement.After having his No. 9 retired in his Czech Republic hometown of Pardubice last year, followed by a Hockey Hall of Fame induction in November, Hasek was back in Buffalo to take part in his latest honour.The Sabres paid tribute to their star goalie by retiring his No. 39 in a banner-raising ceremony before their home game against the Detroit Red Wings.Hasek played for both teams, and won Stanley Cups with Detroit in 2002 and 2008.Buffalo, however, holds a special spot in his heart. It was during a nine-season stint with the Sabres when Hasek established his reputation as one of the NHLs best, and revolutionized the art of goaltending with an unorthodox flopping style.I dont think Ill ever get tired of hearing the sound of Sabres fans cheering, Hasek said in opening a 4-1/2 minute speech from a podium at centre ice. Sabres fans are one of a kind and having your support means as much to me as any trophy that I have won.One fan yelled out: We love you! Another yelled: We need you back!The banner hung above the Sabres zone, and will eventually join the six others honouring team greats in the northwest end of the arena. The Sabres also honoured Hasek by having his number painted behind both nets.Before the ceremony, Hasek reminisced about his career and playing days in Buffalo.One of his fondest memories was in 1998, after leading the Czech Republic to the gold medal at the Nagano Winter Games. Returning to Buffalo, Hasek was amazed at being greeted at the airport by thousands of cheering Sabres fans.It was something that I will never forget, he said. And thats why I feel like a big part of Buffalo.Hasek forced his trade to Detroit in July 2001 because he wanted a shot to win a championship at a time when the Sabres were entering a rebuilding stage.Hasek began his career in Chicago, before being traded to Buffalo in August 1992. He also spent the 2005-06 season with Ottawa. After winning his second Stanley Cup with the Red Wings, Hasek spent two seasons playing professionally in Europe before formally announcing his retirement in 2012.He was a two-time NHL MVP, six-time Vezina Trophy-winner and six-time all-star. Statistically, Hasek ranks first on the NHL career list with a 92.2 save percentage, is sixth with 81 shutouts, seventh with a 2.2 goals-against average and 12th with 389 wins.He was one of the greatest players to ever play the game, said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, who coached Hasek in Detroit. He gave Buffalo an opportunity to win every night. He was an absolutely star, and did it his own way.Haseks competitive intensity set him apart. And that included practice, where Hasek hated giving up a goal.He never wanted to be scored on. It didnt matter if it was the pre-game skate or practice and obviously not in a game, Red Wings forward and former teammate Henrik Zetterberg said. For me, as a younger player coming in, to see the battle he put in practice helped me to go even harder.Haseks influence particularly resonated back home, where he inspired numerous Czech Republic youngsters to play goal. That includes Buffalos Michal Neuvirth and Detroits Petr Mrazek, who started Tuesday night.He was my idol. I always wanted to be like him, Neuvirth said.Hasek never envisioned the dominant stamp he would eventually place on the game.It was unclear. I wasnt confident, Hasek said, recalling his arrival in Buffalo. It took me a few years. But after a while, you feel more confident.He then paused, and broke into a smile.What can I say? Hasek added. What a great nine years I spent in Buffalo. Steve Nash Jersey
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. The third-ranked Buckeyes were down eight points to Notre Dame with less than 2 minutes to play and their offence was nowhere to be found.Canadas freestyle ski team will have a decidedly different look this season. The likes of Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Dara Howell and Mikael Kingsbury will be there, but there was one glaring absence on the squad unveiled Wednesday. Two-time Olympic moguls gold medallist Alex Bilodeau retired after the last World Cup season, leaving a big hole on the team as it begins the long road to the 2018 Games in South Korea. Bilodeau became the first Canadian to win Olympic gold on home soil with his memorable victory at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, and he repeated the performance in Sochi earlier this year. Kingsbury, who battled Bilodeau for the last few years and finished second in Russia this winter, says he will miss competing against his rival. "The first couple World Cups, Im going to miss somebody to look up to and to learn from. Hes been a great athlete," Kingsbury said on a conference call. "He pushed me. Since I was very young, he was my role model." Kingsbury is a three-time overall World Cup champion, and while he and Bilodeau were friends away from the hill, they were fierce opponents on it. "Im going to miss him in a way, but in another way he was one of the strongest competitors to have," said Kinsbury, a native of Deux Montagnes, Que. "Im going to try to have new motivation, to continue to push and work hard to stay ranked first in the world." Kingsbury, who turns 22 next week, said Bilodeaus retirement doesnt open any doors because hes already had a lot of success in his young career. "He was the star for sure. He won the Olympics in Vancouver -- first (Canadian) gold medallist to win on home soil -- and Sochi," Kingsbury said. "He won the two days that he needed to win, but at the same time I dont think its my turn to shine because I won the Crystal Globe and he was there, I won the world championship and he was there. "At the Olympics hee did his run.dddddddddddd I tried everything I could to win but he had the run that he needed and he totally deserved it." Like the rest of the freestyle ski team, Kingsburys focus is primed on training for the coming season, with thoughts of the 2018 Olympics in South Korea also lingering. "I just want to continue what Ive been doing, and not do more because Alex is not there," he said. "If he would have continued I would have been super happy and still would have worked hard to win the gold medal in 2018. Thats my next plan. "Its four years -- four years is long. Im going to be ready for 2018 but theres many things to come." Dufour-Lapointe won gold in Sochi in womens moguls, and will now take it one year at a time as she starts to build towards the next Games. The same is true of teammate Audrey Robichaud, who finished 10th in the womens moguls in Sochi. "Personally I feel like Im still on a high from the Olympics," said Robichaud, a native of Quebec City. "What keeps me going is I feel like I can still get better and theres room for improvement." Also headlining the Canadian team for the 2014-15 season is Howell, who topped the podium in womens slopestyle in Sochi, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe -- the silver medallist in moguls behind her younger sister at the Games -- and Kim Lamarre, who finished third in slopestyle. The other Sochi medallist on this years team is Mike Riddle, who took silver in halfpipe. The rest of the Canadian freestyle team for the upcoming year includes: aerial skiers Travis Gerrits, Olivier Rochon, Jean-Christophe Andre and Sabrina Guerin; halfpipe skiers Mike Riddle, Justin Dorey, Simon dArtois, Rosalind Groenewoud, Keltie Hansen, Megan Gunning; slopestyle skiers Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, Alex Bellemare, Evan McEachran and Kaya Turski; and moguls skiers Marc-Antoine Gagnon, Philippe Marquis and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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