Goodbye to a legend: Dominik Hasek Retires

KP Wee@kpwee1Senior Writer IJune 8, 2008

The Associated Press has reported that Detroit Red Wings superstar goaltender Dominik Hasek will announce his retirement from the NHL Monday.

The Red Wings have supposedly scheduled a press conference, and word is that the Hasek announcement will come then.

If the report is true, then it marks the end of a truly remarkable career for one of the best goalies of all-time.

The six-time Vezina Trophy winner as the league's top netminder, now 43 years of age, is only 11 wins shy of 400 in his career. Hasek owns a sparkling 2.20 career GAA.

Hasek didn't become a No. 1 goalie in the NHL until the age of 29, when he was with his second club, the Buffalo Sabres.

And Hasek only got the starter's job when five-time Stanley Cup champion Grant Fuhr was injured during the 1993-94 season.

He then went 30-20-6 with seven shutouts and a league-low 1.95 GAA, capturing his first Vezina.

The "Dominator" transformed a mediocre to average Sabres team into a perennial contender, and took Buffalo to the Cup finals in 1998-99, only to fall to the Dallas Stars on a controversial skate-in-the-crease OT goal.

Hasek won the Cup with the Red Wings in 2001-02, posting back-to-back shutouts in games six and seven of the Western Conference finals against Patrick Roy's Colorado Avalanche on the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Of course, Hasek wasn't without controversy either.

Hasek's feud with then Sabres coach Ted Nolan was well-documented, and the Jack Adams Award-winning (coach of the year) bench boss did not return to Buffalo after the 1996-97 season.

There were also untimely injuries as well, especially come playoff time. The first such incident came in that 1996-97 season, when Hasek took himself out in the first round against Ottawa. The legitimacy of Hasek's injury was questioned by some in the media, and even on his own team.

The Sabres, the No. 2 seed in the East, eventually fell to Philadelphia in the second round.

When Hasek played for the Ottawa Senators during the 2005-06 season, he injured his groin and didn't return for the playoffs. The Sens, the top seed in the East, floundered with unproven Ray Emery, and Hasek wasn't brought back.

Despite the controversies though, Hasek also has been a team player. What hasn't been well-documented was the fact the "Dominator" actually reportedly refused half of his 2003-04 salary from the Red Wings when he was injured for most of that season.

And, Hasek has an Olympic gold medal, which he won during the 1998 Nagano Winter Games. By the way, Hasek dominated during that 1997-98 season, finishing with an amazing 13 shutouts in 72 games, both career highs.

The "Dominator" was in goal against my Boston Bruins in Game Four of the 1993 Adams Division Semi-Finals, having replaced an injured Fuhr in the second period.

Hasek, an unproven goalie at the time (he'd been traded by Chicago to Buffalo for mediocre backup goalie Stephane Beauregard), allowed only a goal as the Sabres rallied to eliminate the Bruins in the "May Day" Brad May game.

It was Hasek's first career playoff win, and he would win 64 more in the postseason.

Dominik Hasek: one of the best the NHL has ever seen. The "Dominator" will definitely be missed.