Okay. So, it’s over. Done. For real now?
On Tuesday, arguably the greatest goaltender of all-time – Dominik Hasek – closed the lid on any possible NHL comeback, meaning the 47-year-old former phenom won’t be re-appearing on North American ice any time soon. Unless, of course, the Red Wings, Senators, or Sabres get a crack at a Winter Classic and he is – for whatever reason – invited to the reunion.
“I was preparing to play in the NHL but unfortunately there was no team who wanted me,” Hasek told Radio Prague. “I was in touch with a few teams and we were discussing the possibilities but at the end of the day, they said no. So, I decided to leave my gear in the garage.”
Hasek also said he hadn’t asked for a contract, but was simply hoping to play in the minors. At the same time, when Radio Prague asked him about an NHL possibility post-lockout, Hasek didn’t sound too definite.
“It seems like it’s over,” he said. Seems.
So, is it a retirement, or is it just another hiatus?
With Hasek, we’ve never known.
During his prime, The Dominator was just that. He’s the only goaltender to win two Hart Trophies, and he won them in a row. He combined them with five Vezina Trophies, three Stanley Cup appearances and one win, in 2002. He also won a gold medal with the Czech Republic in 1998.
The man is a hero on that side of the Curtain. He has also become somewhat of a side story in the past 12 months, as multiple – and maybe misleading – reports of a possible comeback dogged his reputation and left a different taste in the mouths of many fans.
You can say this about Hasek, though: he loves the game, and he loves to win.
It may seem odd for a 47-year-old to want to return to the National Hockey League, but consider that a blessing. As every Canadian, American, Russian, Swede, and Fin bolts for the KHL or leagues just like it, it now looks like The Dominator is the only one in the world who prefers to play in North America over Europe.
Take it as a compliment.