For 16 NHL seasons, goaltender Dominik Hasek was among the best between the pipes that the league had to offer, winning two Hart Trophies, six Vezina Trophies and two Stanley Cups. In 2008, Hasek retired at the age of 43, stating that he lacked the motivation to continue to perform at a high level. Well, four years – and two comebacks – later, Hasek is retiring for what should be the last time.
Hasek, 47, made the announcement in an interview with iSport on Tuesday after failing to receive an offer from any NHL teams – but let’s face it, with the ongoing lockout, now isn’t exactly the best time.
"I prepared, I wanted to play. But for what I was studying (return to the NHL), it did not work. I do not see that it has changed," he told iSport.cz. "I wanted to do everything possible to get back to the NHL, but the other party did not feel like me. Finally, I decided it's not worth it.”
It was reported that there were two teams interested in Hasek – the Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes – but with AHL rosters at maximum capacity because of the lockout, it was difficult to generate anything more than interest. The lack of NHL interest comes about a year and a half after Hasek wanted one more year in the KHL, but no team wanted to fulfill his wishes. This past March he made it clear that he would retire if he didn’t receive a contract by June.
June came and went and still nothing from Hasek or his camp. He began training with the team he played for in his youth, Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga in the hopes that an NHL team would bring him in as a PR move or to help out their younger goaltenders, but the lockout put the kibosh on that.
Hasek appeared in 735 games, posted a 2.13 goals-against average and accumulated 389 wins en route to becoming one of the greatest goaltenders in league history, spending the bulk of the games with the Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings along with two short stints with the Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators. Hasek will always remain in the shadow of Martin Brodeur but we can’t help but imagine just what his career would have been like had he come into the league before the age of 25.
Photo Credit: Kellen/Icon SMI