And it looks like I may have to keep spreading my message for quite some time. According to a current TSN poll asking visitors to rank the top 3 goalies of this generation (Hasek, Roy, Brodeur), 54% picked Roy first while 38% picked Brodeur. Just 8% picked Hasek. Not only that, but a full 75% of respondents ranked Hasek 3rd out of the 3. The results are similar in American polls: Voters on NBC Sports have the all-time goalie rankings going 1. Roy, 2. Sawchuk, 3. Brodeur, 4. Hasek, 5. Dryden, while at ESPN it goes 1. Roy, 2. Brodeur, 3. Sawchuk, 4. Hasek, 5. Plante.
A lot of European fans on Internet hockey message boards often throw out accusations of "Canadian bias" or "North American bias". Most of the times these claims are absurd, but I think it may not be too far from the truth in this case. The reason is that many of the arguments against Hasek have nothing to do with his performance, but attack his durability, his flakiness, or an alleged lack of character and reliability. Quite frankly, the reaction towards Hasek from many hockey fans can be described as bitterness. I'm not going to dispute that he was a jerk at times, but I just don't see how that has anything to do with how good he was. Patrick Roy was a jerk as well who bailed on his team in Montreal as well as his country in the 2002 Olympics, but that doesn't seem to stick to him like more minor transgressions seem to stick to Hasek.
I think for many fans the Olympics have had a significant subconscious impact in the way they view the careers of Brodeur and Hasek: love for Brodeur because he won in Salt Lake, dislike of Hasek because he foiled Canada in Nagano. If Hasek had done what he did in 1998 playing on Team Canada, I somehow doubt that he would be seen as taking a clear backseat to the two other guys that he outplayed and owned in terms of individual awards during his career.
There are arguments that can be made for ranking Patrick Roy ahead of Dominik Hasek, primarily based on Roy's excellent playoff career. I don't see them as particularly convincing arguments, but if you place a heavy emphasis on playoff play and career longevity then there is at least a rationale to preferring Roy to Hasek. But I will never understand how people rank Marty ahead of the Dominator. That is like rating Ron Francis ahead of Mario Lemieux. You would probably have been laughed at for taking Brodeur over Hasek in 1999, but for some reason almost a decade later everything has flipped around. As always when evaluating goalies, it should be the goalie's performance that matters not the performance of the rest of their team, and that leads to Hasek-Roy-Brodeur as the only reasonable outcome.