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LaFontaine happy to see ex-teammate Hasek inducted

by Mike Brophy

TORONTO -- There's nothing like going up against a future Hall of Fame goaltender every day to sharpen the skills of a goal-scorer.

Pat LaFontaine knows all about that.

LaFontaine, who was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003, was a teammate of Dominik Hasek with the Buffalo Sabres. Hasek was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday.

"I've never seen a goalie make the saves that he made," LaFontaine said. "The ways that he would turn his body into a pretzel and somehow twist and drop his stick to makes the saves; I don't know if we'll ever see them again. He is simply one of the greatest goalies to ever play."

LaFontaine said there is really no comparable to Hasek among goaltenders, but he does believe there is one in terms of the impact Hasek made on the game.

"I was talking to Chris Osgood [Sunday] night and he said Dominik is the Wayne Gretzky of goalies," LaFontaine said. "He had the ability to slow the game down and anticipate where the puck was going to go next and somehow put himself in position [to make the save]. He would always talk to his players. You would see him quietly telling them where to be almost like he was playing a high-end quick game of chess."

LaFontaine said Hasek also had the ability to get in the heads of some superstars.

"I think he knew where they were going to shoot even before they knew," LaFontaine said.

"He did make me a better scorer, but I think the coaching staff, Ted Nolan and John Muckler, probably told Dom to give the guys some confidence every once in a while by letting some goals in."

LaFontaine said he is not surprised Hasek has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"I think his work ethic, his vision and his anticipation of slowing the game down along with his very unique style and athleticism made him a Hall of Famer," LaFontaine said.

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