Dominik Hasek is finally hanging up the pads, again. The 41 year old Hasek has put together an impressive resume over the past two decades, both on the international stage and in the NHL. With a gold medal victory at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first time that professional hockey players were allowed to participate, Hasek made a case for being one of the best goalies in the world. In a stunning shootout victory over the highly favored Canadian squad, Hasek stopped every shot, and then followed that with a 20 save shutout of the Russians in the gold medal game. Hasek also won numerous medals at the World Cups and IIHF World Hockey Championships for the Czech Republic.
In 1999, Hasek backstopped the Buffalo Sabres’ surprising run to the Stanley Cup Finals, where Brett Hull of the Dallas Stars scored perhaps the most controversial goal in NHL history, while his foot was clearly in the crease. The Game 6 overtime winner was, for some reason, never reviewed, and the Stars were awarded the Cup. Hasek was traded to Detroit in 2001, where he won the Cup in 2002, and returned to Detroit in time to lead Detroit to the playoffs for the 2008 postseason. Unfortunately, the Dominator struggled during the opening round, and was replaced by Chris Osgood who played brilliantly.
Monday afternoon, Hasek held a press conference to announce his retirement from the NHL. He finished with 389 wins, 81 shutouts, a GAA of 2.20 and a save percentage of .922. Most expect Hasek to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first eligible year.