A pair of future Hall of Famers, fresh of championbship seasons, have retired this week.
Hasek has to be included in the conversation for best goaltender in NHL history. He won countless Vezina Trophies, a pair of MVP awards and a few championships. Strahan, while definitely one of the greats of his era, does not stack up with the alltime great defensive ends, like Reggie White or Deacon Jones. So, how come it seems like Strahan’s exit will have a far greater impact on his sport than Hasek’s?
It’s all about style. Strahan was not the best player on the Giants defense last year, but he was their best player in the Superbowl. He’s also calling it a career at a time when it looks like he still has more to give. Physically, he hasn’t lost a step. Mentally, he’s burnt out.
Hasek, on the other hand, should have stayed retired after winning his first cup in 2001. He would have been remembered as a guy who led Buffalo for the better part of a decade, then left for a shot at a cup. (Also for the Ted Nolan rumors) But, after taking a year off, he decided to come back. Even though, the Wings had two quality goalies already under contract. Thus, began phase two of Hasek’s career. It’s an era marked by selfishness, injury and then the ultimate insult: being benched after dropping the first two games of this year’s playoffs, then watching Chris Osgood win the cup. Hasek is no longer on Detroit’s roster, and, chances are, no one will notice.
So, yes. Neil was right. It’s better to burn out, than to fade away.