Despite Legace's outstanding play, he has been on light duty since the Red Wings acquired Hasek from the Sabres on July 1 and allowed the Islanders to select Osgood in the waiver draft. "It was a disappointment," Legace says of the trade that brought Hasek for forward Slava Kozlov and a No. 1 draft pick. "I thought Chris and I could have been a good tandem for five or six years."
Although there's no quibbling with the results—Detroit's 22-4-1-1 start had the Wings on pace to shatter the Canadiens' single-season points record of 132, set in 1976-77—it's hard not to pity Legace, whose sparkling numbers (1.96 goals-against average, .931 save percentage) were better than Hasek's (2.48, .906). "I'm finding that the mental side is the toughest," says Legace. "When you're playing every day, you get into a groove. When you play one game after having two weeks off, you've got to get pumped up all over again, and the first period feels like the first game of the season—you've got butterflies. Being content with it is what they're telling me I have to be, not what I want."
Mighty Ducks' Enforcer
Punch-drunk With Joy
After toiling for 10 years in places like Spokane and Worcester, left wing Kevin Sawyer has finally punched his way onto the NHL map. Through Sunday, Sawyer, the Mighty Ducks' enforcer, had shown an astounding readiness to drop the gloves by amassing a league-high 118 penalty minutes and 16 fighting majors. He also retains the happy-to-be-here demeanor of a 27-year-old who, before this season, had played in only 22 NHL games, with the Blues, Bruins and Coyotes, beginning in 1995-96.
In training camp, on the first day of intrasquad scrimmages Sawyer, who was signed as a free agent in July 2000, picked fights with veteran brawlers Jim Cummins and Denny Lambert. Sawyer's enthusiasm and fistic ability so impressed coach Bryan Murray that he gave Cummins's roster spot to Sawyer. "It's never fun fighting your teammates," says Sawyer, "but I had to make myself noticed."
He got noticed for another reason on Nov. 26, when he scored his first career goal, beating the Rangers' Mike Richter in the second period of a 3-2 Anaheim win. "I got into the dressing room and found that my wife, Jessica, had left a message screaming into my cell phone," Sawyer says. "I couldn't make out what she was saying, but it was something like, 'Honey, you scored in the NHL. I can't believe it!' "