Dominik Hasek, the Buffalo Sabres' star goalie, will be out for months with a groin injury instead of a few weeks, as was originally believed.
Hasek has a torn groin muscle, and will be sidelined for an indefinite period of time. "We're talking months, not weeks," Sabres team doctor Les Bisson said Tuesday.
Hasek was injured while vainly trying to stop a shot by Florida defenseman Bret Hedican with 33 seconds left in regulation in Buffalo's 3-2 overtime win Friday.
"It's a great challenge for us," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said. "We've always said that we're more than a one-dimensional team, and we have a chance to prove it now."
Hasek (1-4-1) had a tough start this season but was showing signs recently of the play that made him a two-time league MVP and five-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie.
"We have been told that he will recover from it (before the end of the season)," Buffalo general manager Darcy Regier said. "We hope we'll have him back for the most important part of the season."
The 45-foot slap shot by Hedican struck the post and Hasek was injured as he thrust out his right pad trying to stop it. He then slumped face-first to the ice and stayed down until help arrived.
"I saw the puck at the last moment and tried to make a big save," Hasek said Tuesday. "I felt it (the groin) pop."
Hasek, who has said he will retire after this season, had surgery in Munich, Germany, in August to repair a slight hernia.
"It was almost completely healed," Hasek said.
Hasek missed 12 games last season with a strained groin.
"We were 5-4-3 when he wasn't here," Ruff said. "I think we're a better team."
Marty Biron is 2-1 with a 2.88 goals-against average, and was in goal for Buffalo's first win of the season, 7-3 over the Carolina Hurricanes in the eighth game of the season. Biron also lost 3-0 to Boston Saturday.
The Sabres will alternate between Biron and Dwayne Roloson (0-2-1).
The injury has demoralized Hasek, but the Olympic gold medalist said he will help any way he can.
"It's very tough," he said. "But I still feel like a part of the team."
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