The Dominator: Dominik Hasek’s Unforgettable Reign in Detroit

The Detroit Red Wings were one of the most dominant teams in the NHL in the 90s and the early 2000s. The Red Wings won 13 division titles, six conference championships, six president’s trophies, and four Stanley Cup championships from 1990-2009. They even had a streak of 25 straight playoff appearances that would be snapped in the 2016-17 season. The dominance of the Red Wings in the early 2000s was due to having one of the best goalies in NHL history Dominik Hasek. Hasek started his career with the Chicago Blackhawks playing there for two seasons before heading to the Buffalo Sabres for nine years. Then he found his way to the Red Wings for two years before spending a season in Ottawa with the Senators, then coming back to the Red Wings for the final two seasons of his career.

Key Points:

  • The Detroit Red Wings had one of the most dominant teams of the 1990s and early 2000s.
  • Red Wings won 13 division titles, six conference championships, six president’s trophies, and four Stanley Cup championships.
  • Red Wings made 25 straight playoff appearances.
  • Dominik Hasek was a crucial part of the Red Wings in the 2000s.
Detroit Red Wings Filip Hronek Marco Kasper David Perron

Dominik Hasek’s reign

Hasek was known as one of the game's best goalies before he ended up in Detroit, being named to the all-star team seven times, winning six Vezina Awards and two Hart Memorial Trophies. Then before the 2001-02 season, Hasek was traded to Detroit for Vyacheslav Kozlov and a first-round selection in the 2002 NHL draft. The move came as Buffalo wanted to lower the payroll and get Hasek on a more competitive team. In his first season with the Red Wings, he got to play on one of the best teams in NHL history, playing in 65 games for them and posting a 41-15-8 record with a .915 save percentage and a 2.17 GAA en route to leading the Red Wings to the President’s Trophy. He would also help lead them to the Stanley Cup finals going 16-3-4 and leading them to a sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes to claim his first career Stanley Cup. During that run for the Red Wings, Hasek set a record for most shutouts in a postseason with six. Martin Brodeur would later break that record.

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Following that Stanley Cup run, Hasek announced his retirement, citing he wanted to spend more time with family. The Red Wings that season would fail to make it out of the first round, being swept by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Hasek decided to come back and play for the Red Wings for the 2003-04 season, creating an issue as the team had Curtis Joseph as its goalie; Hasek would go on to play in only 14 games that season going 8-3-2. He suffered a groin injury and would not play in another game, announcing that he was out for the season. Hasek ended up having surgery at the end of the season. He also refused to accept pay from the Red Wings while he was out with his injury.

Dominik Hasek Detroit Red Wings

After his contract ended with the Red Wings, Hasek signed with the Ottawa Senators, then the NHL lockout happened, and Hasek would not make his debut with the Senators until 2005-06. After his contract ended with Ottawa after the 05-06 season, Hasek decided to return to Detroit for his second stint and played for $750,000, which also included bonuses based on the team's success in the playoffs that season Hasek would play in 42 games for the Red Wings leading them to the one seed in the Western Conference, he would even lead them all the way to the Western Conference finals, but the run ended there as the Anaheim Ducks knocked out the Red Wings in six games and the Ducks would win the Stanley Cup.

Hasek contemplated retirement after that run but decided to come back for one more year and signed with the Red Wings again. That final season he shared the net with Chris Osgood as Hasek played in 41 games, going 27-10-3 with a .902 save percentage and a 2.14 GAA. The tandem of Hasek and Osgood led the Red Wings to another President’s Trophy. Red Wings Hasek would start in net for the playoffs and lead the Red Wings to a 2-0 series lead before dropping the next two to the Nashville Predators and Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock decided to go back to Osgood, who ended up leading the Red Wings to the cup. Hasek would end up retiring following that season.

Detroit Red Wings Ice Storm

Wrap Up

Over his 16-year career, Hasek would go on to win a lot of hardware of his career. Hasek was a ten-time all-star. He won six Vezina Awards and finished in the top five seven times. He also won two Hart Memorial trophies and finished in the top five of voting five times, and won three Jennings Awards, which are awarded to the best goalie tandem in a season. Hasek finished his career with a 389-223-95 record, with his Red Wings record being 114-39-19. The most important trophy Hasek won over his career was two Stanley Cups, both of which came with the Red Wings. Hasek will always be known as one of the best goalies the NHL ever saw.

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