When we on the selection committee came up with the pairings for this tournament this match-up stuck out. Not because of how tight it could be or how intriguing but for just how wildly different these two athletes were. One thing’s for sure though during the 90s these guys were both pretty vital to the Knicks and Sabres, although neither was ever able to get to the top of the mountain.
Drafted first overall in the 1985 draft, Patrick Ewing went on to be one of the best guys to ever strap up in the orange and blue and MSG. Ewing would go on to play for the Knicks for 15 years in which he was an All-Star 11 times and an All-NBA First Team selection once (1990). Although he never led the league in any category Ewing’s career numbers of 21.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg and 2.4 bpg are still stellar. Too bad he played during the Jordan Era as the only team he was ever a part of that made it to the NBA Finals came during the lockout shortened season 1998-99 season, the year after MJ retired. On the bright side Patrick Ewing was a guest star in one of the greatest sports movies of all time, Space Jam, where he was unfortunately again overshadowed by his airness.
Dominik Hasek played for a number of teams over the years but none for longer than his tenure with the Buffalo Sabres including a phenomenal stretch of six straight years in which he led the NHL in save percentage. In the 1997-98 season he set a team record with 13 shutouts and won the Hart Award for the second time the first goalie in history to ever accomplish the feat. In the next season he won his third straight Vezina Trophy and led the Sabres to the Stanley Cup, where they fell short to the Dallas Stars. He didn’t have the longevity of the greats like Brodeur but was definitely the best guy to ever crouch between the pipes for the Sabres.