Was Dominik Hasek a distraction?
Senators coach Bryan Murray says the situation involving the club's No. 1 goalie was "overblown" by the media, but admitted he was pained by the fact Hasek never returned in the playoffs.
"I'm frustrated by it. We waited a long time for him here," said Murray. "We kept hoping that he would come back at some point and I think that made the situation a little tough on Ray Emery.
"At the same time, you always hope you're going to have the opportunity to have your No. 1 goalie."
Hasek, injured on Feb. 15 while playing for the Czech Republic at the Olympics, never returned from the adductor muscle injury described as "a minor strain" that was supposed to keep him sidelined for 10-14 days.
Three months later, the situation turned into a circus for Emery and the Senators when Hasek returned to practice before Game 3 in Buffalo. It's believed Murray had a conversation with Hasek about starting or backing up in Game 4, but it was clear he wasn't ready for either role.
Emery said last night that Hasek's presence and media coverage didn't bother him. He says he was just trying to do the job while Hasek recuperated.
"I knew that when Dominik Hasek was going to come back, then he was going to go back in the net," said Emery. "I was just trying to get the job done until he was healthy again. I wanted to help this team. That's what is most disappointing, that I didn't get it job done."
Despite outshooting the Sabres by 113-64 in three games at Scotiabank Place, the Senators' belief in Emery never wavered, according to captain Daniel Alfredsson.
"He did a great job. We just weren't able to put the puck in the net and that's frustrating," said Alfredsson.