Dominik Hasek #31 Chicago Blackhawks (Picture Courtesy of Goaliesarchives.com)
Dominik Hasek, Chicago Blackhawks/Buffalo Sabres/Ottawa Senators/Detroit Red Wings goaltender
Why he’s a Blackhawks ghost: Mistakes will occasionally happen in the transactions of any professional sports team. What happened in 1992 when the Blackhawks traded a future Hall of Famer to Buffalo, however, is now a great haunting moment for the Chicago franchise. Hasek was backup to Belfour for two seasons with the Blackhawks before they decided to move him to the Sabres for what amounted to the draft pick used on Eric Daze.
After playing in just 25 games over two seasons in Chicago, Hasek turned into one of the league’s best netminders seemingly overnight, and starting in his late-20s. Hasek was a 10-time All-Star, six-time Vezina Trophy winner, three-time Jennings Trophy winner, tw0-time Hart Trophy and Pearson Award winner and a two-time Stanley Cup champion, all after leaving the Windy City. Of course, those two titles came with the rival Red Wings. Oh, and as was mentioned, he made the pro hockey Hall of Fame after playing until age 43.
You could say a mistake was made when the Blackhawks moved Hasek, but they could have had no idea he’d evolve into a superstar in less than a season. It’s what makes him a truly haunting ghost of the Blackhawks organization.
Jan 13, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres former goalie Dominik Hasek waves to the crowd as he takes the ice during his ceremony to get his number retired prior to a game against the Detroit Red Wings at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks owner
Why he’s a Blackhawks ghost: I promise this isn’t meant as a crack at the fact Wirtz is deceased, even though Blackhawks fans booed viciously when Wirtz was honored at the United Center shortly after his death. While Wirtz did some positive things for the franchise in the form of charity work, what he did for and to the on-ice product and the team’s fan base was nothing short of a disaster. Players like Belfour, Hasek, Roenick and Chelios were moved under his watch. He refused to lift a blackout policy on home games. And he led the organization when it was named ESPN’s worst in the four major sports.
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The Blackhawks won a whole lot of nothing while Wirtz was in charge of the Blackhawks, and his death is often viewed in a positive light by Blackhawks fans from a franchise-rebuilding aspect. Rocky Wirtz was able to take over the Blackhawks after his father’s death and set the wheels in motion to make the Chicago Blackhawks franchise great again. Still, for those who suffered through the “Dollar Bill” Wirtz tenure, the elder Wirtz will always be a ghost of the organization.
Who are your ghosts of Blackhawks seasons past? Let us know in the comments section.
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