Date of Birth: 01/29/1965 (Age 49)
Weight: 165 lbs
Drafted: 199th overall – Chicago Blackhawks
Career Stats (Regular Season): 735 GP, 389-223-82-32 (W-L-T-OT), 81 Shutouts, .922 SVP, 2.20 GAA
Playoff Stats: 119 GP, 65-49, 14 Shutouts, .925 SVP, 2.02 GAA
It’s difficult to talk about “elite” or “legendary” goaltenders without bringing up Dominik Hasek. A goalie with six Vezina trophies to his credit (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001), two Hart trophies, and two Stanley Cups, among other awards. He has always been heralded as one of the best to play the game. With various bouts of time off in-between in some cases, Hasek played for the Blackhawks, Sabres, Senators, and Red Wings during his career, winning two Stanley Cups with the latter-most team (2002, 2008).
Being of smaller stature than most goaltenders in the game today, his stats were all the more impressive when you considered his play style, on top of his age towards the end of his career. Much like Tim Thomas, his style is considered very “unorthodox” for a goaltender, and he relied mostly on his quick reflexes, concentration and foot speed. He set multiple career records in his time, including the record for shutouts in a postseason year, and the highest single-season save percentage, both of which have since been broken.
In his two Cup-winning years with Detroit, Hasek posted records of 41-15-8 (2001-02, W-L-T), and 38-11-6 (2007-08, W-L-OT), helping backstop them both seasons to President’s Trophies for top record in the league. Though he backstopped them to the Cup in 2002, he was replaced by Chris Osgood after only four games into the postseason in 2008.
One of the things that teams loved so much about Hasek was his willingness to forego compensation for the sake of playing the game. In the 2003-04 season with Detroit, he was out for 2-4 weeks with a groin injury, but ended up not finishing the season, and told the Red Wings’ brass that he would not accept any compensation while he was injured. He ended up refusing roughly $3 million of his $6 million salary. After his time with the Senators, he told them he would be willing to sign a $500K one-year deal with bonuses to play for them again. A steal by any stretch of the imagination, but Ottawa decided to move on without him. It was that year that Hasek signed a one-year $750K contract with bonuses for the Red Wings, still a great steal for the team. Hasek’s number one priority was always his love of the game, and he never let salary or numbers get in the way of that.
Hasek was a classy player and a legend by any stretch of the imagination, even if much of his playing time was for other teams.
(Featured image via NYPost.com/Reuters)