SPORTS

Goalie Dominik Hasek gives up hope for NHL return

10/09/2012 10:16 EDT | Updated 12/09/2012 05:12 EST
At age 47, the goalie known as the “Dominator” appears to be set on ending his attempt at a National Hockey League comeback for good.

Dominik Hasek told Czech magazine Sport it is “very unlikely” he would play again after no NHL team offered him a contract amid the current lockout.

“I prepared, I wanted to play,” Hasek, a six-time winner of the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top netminder. “I wanted to do everything possible to get back to the NHL. … Finally I decided it’s not worth it.”

Hasek had already retired twice previously from the NHL, most recently in 2008 after 16 seasons, saying at that time that his playing days were over for good. Hasek had also called it quits following the 2001-02 campaign.

The native of Prague will be best remembered for his Vezina Trophies, two Stanley Cups, two Hart Trophies as NHL MVP and outdueling Patrick Roy in a memorable shootout win over Canada. Hasek and company went on to beat Russia 1-0 for the gold medal.

In March 2011, Hasek was intent on playing one more season in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia but didn’t receive any contract offers.

He began training with Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga this past summer in hopes of an NHL team taking notice.

Hasek’s representative reportedly spoke with the Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes but the lockout and several NHLers filling out American Hockey League rosters ended those discussions.

Hasek posted a 389-223-82 record overall with Buffalo, Detroit and Ottawa, with 81 shutouts and a career goals against average of 2.20. He is tied for sixth in shutouts and 10th in win.

The goalie gained notice for his style, falling to the ice in all manner of positions to stop the puck, frequently without his goal stick. Over time, he made an impression off the ice with his blunt and wry manner.

He was most spectacular between 1996 and 2002, recording 46 shutouts and winning four more Vezina awards as well as twice taking the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player.

The goaltender brought a decent but hardly awe-inspiring Sabres squad to the Eastern Conference final in 1998 and to the Stanley Cup final the following year, where they lost to the Dallas Stars in six games.

Hasek vehemently protested that Brett Hull had been in the crease on the Cup-winning goal, but the goal stood.

In the summer of 2001, Hasek was sent that summer to Detroit for Slava Kozlov and a draft pick.

Hasek maintained his standard in 65 games with the Red Wings and then recorded six shutouts in the playoffs to win his first Stanley Cup as Detroit beat Carolina in the 2002 final. He also hoisted the Cup with the Red Wings in 2008.

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