Dominik Hasek was a goalie on the Detroit Red Wings from the Czech Republic. His unique goaltending style and incredible flexibility have made him one of the most difficult goalies to score on and he retired with a GAA of 2.20 and a save percentage of .922. He also had 389 wins and 81 shutouts.
Hasek is one of the most talented goalies of all time and has had one of the most successful careers in NHL history. He played 18 seasons in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators. Hasek grew up playing in the Czech Extraliga, where he was named top player of the league in at least three seasons. He had been drafted by the Blackhawks in 1983, but had not come to America due to restrictions by the Soviet Bloc, as well as personal desires to stay in his native land.
In 1990, Hasek debuted in the NHL, but Ed Belfour was the starting goalie in Chicago and was in the prime of his career. In 1992, after playing backup since his debut, Hasek was traded to Buffalo, where he finally got a chance to be a regular starter. He won his first Vezina trophy in 1994, and won it again in 1995. In the 1996-97 season, Hasek led the Sabres to the playoffs, but conflicts with coach Ted Nolan and a minor injury kept him out of most of the playoffs. He was not well liked at the start of the next season, but his stellar play won back the fans. He won his 3rd Vezina as well as the Hart Trophy (MVP) and was voted the most outstanding player by the NHLPA (Lester B. Pearson Award). In 97-98, Hasek repeated all three, making him the first goalie to do so.
In 1999, Hasek led the Sabres to the Cup Finals, where he faced Ed Belfour and the Dallas Stars. In Game 6, in triple overtime, Brett Hull scored the Cup winning goal, although his foot was clearly in Hasek’s crease. The goal was unexplainably not reviewed, and the Stars won the Cup. Hasek missed most of the next season with a groin injury, but won his 6th Vezina in 2000-01.
After being traded to Detroit in 2001, Hasek won 41 games and lost only 15 on the way to winning his first Stanley Cup in 2002. He also became the first goalie to assist a playoff overtime goal against the Colorado Avalanche, as well as setting a playoff record for shutouts with 6. He retired shortly after. Although he returned to the Wings, he received limited playing time due to the presence of Chris Osgood and Manny Legace and signed with Ottawa after his contract expired. After the lockout, Hasek recorded his 300th win with Ottawa, but after an injury forced him out of the lineup for the playoffs, he was not re-signed.
Hasek re-signed with Detroit, and led them to the Conference Finals, where they lost to Anaheim. After signing a one year deal with Detroit, Hasek and Chris Osgood alternated throughout the season. Although he was named the playoff starter, he struggled in the first round against Nashville and was replaced by Osgood. Osgood performed well and led the Wings to the Cup victory over Pittsburgh.
On Monday June 9, Hasek officially announced his retirement.
Dominik Hasek was an instrumental part of the Czech Republic’s 1998 Nagano gold medal. In the first Olympics in which professional hockey players were allowed to play, Hasek allowed only 6 goals, and only 2 in the medal rounds. In the semi-finals, he stopped all five Canadian shooters in a shootout victory, and then blanked the Russians in the gold medal game. He also played in the 2006 Olympics in Turin, where the Czechs took bronze, but was injured in the preliminary rounds.
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