The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/26/12 at 05:46 AM ET
The reaction to the news that Dominik Hasek is at least entertaining the idea of attempting an NHL comeback received varying reactions on Friday, but the vast majority of them involved statements similar to the following: “He’s 47 years old, he didn’t play at all last season, and he played the previous two seasons in the Czech Republic and Russia, respectively. Is he nuts?”
First and foremost, yes, yes he is nuts. Despite Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes’s suggestions to the contrary, Dominik Hasek did indeed learn to be both a team player and something of a mentor to Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard during his final tenure with the Wings, but there’s no doubt that the “comeback” is one part ego trip, one part sentimentality and five or six parts crazy Dom being less than 100% attached to reality.
While the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan didn’t pen a column offering a reaction to the news, he offered a succinct comment regarding the reality of said comeback on Twitter…
Is it April Fools Day? Dominik Hasek considering a comeback? Seriously? The Dominator didn’t dominate his final NHL season.
And the Free Press’s Helene St. James put things even more bluntly:
Just so there’s no confusion on this “Is Hasek planning NHL comeback?” rumor ... Wings have zero interest in him other than for WC alum game
“@zfan16: @freepwings Good God, I hope not. At least KH is smart enough not to even think about it.”/You got that right
“@frank_vajcner: RT: @freepwings: Is Dominik Hasek planning an NHL comeback? http://goo.gl/fb/ZU1RG…not gonna happen”/Only for WC alum game
So no, we’re not talking about a likely occurrence here, but if there is one thing to be said about Dominik Hasek’s career after the age of 40, it’s that it involved a series of incredibly unlikely occurrences, taking place back to back to back.
As of the title of this entry, let’s just say that iSport, a.k.a. the Czech tabloid Blesk’s sports publication, tends not only to jump all over anything Hasek-related like kids on a trampoline, but it also tends to milk these stories as if iSport was in fact a Wisconsin dairy.
So whoever the hell “kš” is (sorry, that’s the author’s name, and I don’t know what that stands for) spoke to Red Wings prospect Petr Mrazek, who just happens to have listed Hasek as his idol, about the prospect of Hasek playing in Detroit, and while this is incredibly roughly translated, let’s all be surprised that Mrazek would be absolutely giddy if Hasek did indeed become a Red Wing for the fourth time:
Mrazek would welcome Hasek comeback: “I would have the best teacher!”
Interview: Dominik Hasek in Detroit? For talented goalie Petr Mrazek, who’s waiting to fight for a spot with the Red Wings, it would be very good news: “I would have the best teacher,” says the 20-year-old goalie.
At the Under-20 World Championships, Petr Mrazek was compared to the legendary Hasek. He famously played against the Americans, almost scored a goal and was voted the best goaltender in the championship. Then there was the World Championships in Finland and Sweden, which brought home bronze. In the coming season, he will fight for a spot in Detroit.
What was your reaction to the news that Dominik Hasek might be able to return to Detroit?
“I read it this morning online. So far it’s not certain, but if Dominik returned, it would really help me. He’s got vast [amounts of] experience, just to watch him, plus being in camp, training sessions and games.”
His return would be welcomed, then?
“Yes. He’s Czech, would have a lot to prove in the NHL. If I could be taught by him next, it would really help my career.”
What would you give to be in that kind of school?
“Just show me the way. How he trains off the ice, what he does on the ice, what to do against the best players. What Dominik Hasek did was famous.”
Do you still remember him? How old were you when he played in Nagano?
(Smiles) “Six years old, I was still in school…But I watched the games, I stayed home, I didn’t go to kindergarten. Dominik was a hero to us all, and Nagano was a huge accomplishment.”
So you wouldn’t feel any competition [between the two of you]?
“Not at all! Howard is the leader there, playing well, and is still under contract. I don’t know what the team’s intentions are. But I wouldn’t take it as a competition, I’d take it as help.”
If you were to guess—will you meet Hasek in Detroit?
“I don’t know. Dominik didn’t play in the NHL for a couple of years, so I don’t dare to guess. This is a question for a GM in America. The truth is that to go to the NHL at 47 years of age, it takes a great amount of courage. I’d be surprised. I’ll fly to Detroit sometime in July to train, but it will be more for the young players in the AHL. And maybe it’s there that I’ll meet with Hasek.” (smiles)
These stories will keep rolling in for a the foreseeable future, so I’ll keep an eye on the situation, but I’m not going to translate every one and I’m not going to dedicate blog entries to them unless they’re “news” as opposed to speculation and indulging both Hasek’s ego and iSport’s…Blesk-y tendencies.
In other news regarding a Red Wings prospect who will play with Mrazek in Grand Rapids next season…
Tomas Jurco’s Saint John Sea Dogs will not defend their Memorial Cup title. Jurco registered 2 goals as Saint John rallied from 2-1 and 4-2 deficits (scoring the 2-2 and 4-4 goals), but the Sea Dogs pulled their goaltender while trailing 5-4 late in the 3rd period, and as such, they gave up 2 empty-net goals and dropped a 7-4 decision to the host Shawinigan Cataractes at the Memorial Cup, ending their season and Jurco’s tenure with the QMJHL’s back-to-back champs.
The Cataractes were playing their third game in three nights, which is pretty damn impressive, and they will play the London Knights on Sunday for the Memorial Cup.
Jurco registered 2 goals and an assist in 4 games played, finishing at -2 and taking a whopping 18 shots on goal, and when you add those numbers to his QMJHL playoff stats and you wind up with 15 goals, 17 assists and 32 points (and a +22) over the course of 20 games played. Not bad.
As my cable system sucks (boo, Broadstripe), I didn’t see the game on the NHL Network U.S., but the Memorial Cup’s website describes Jurco’s goals as follows…
The Cataractes were caught with too many men on the ice, giving Saint John the first power-play opportunity of the game. The Sea Dogs were successful as Tomas Jurco recorded his first marker of the tournament by tipping a Kevin Gagné shot from the point.
Shawinigan took a 3-2 lead just before the midway point of the second frame. Loïk Poudrier charged hard to the net and managed to get enough of the puck to put it past the goal line. It took less than two minutes for the Cataractes to extend their lead. Michael Chaput was the recipient of a beautiful pass in the slot from Michaël Bournival. He made no mistake, recording his fourth goal of the tournament. Anton Zlobin was credited with his third helper of the night on the play.
The Sea Dogs got a lucky break with a man down with just over three minutes to go in the second period. A few feet from centre ice, Jonathan Huberdeau cleared the puck which then took an awkward bounce before cruising over the shoulder of Gabriel Girard to make it 4-3.
Saint John managed to tie the score up at four at the midway mark of the third period. Tomas Jurco recorded his second goal of the night with a fine wrist shot from the right faceoff circle.
The Canadian Press, Sportsnet’s Patrick King (with embedded highlights that will only work if you live in Canada), Yahoo Sports’ Sunaya Sapurji, the Sea Dogs’ website and the London Free Press’s Ryan Pyette penned recaps, with Pyette quoting Jurco…
“The second period killed us,” said Jurco, whose club was outshot 20-8 and left trailing by a goal heading to the third. “We didn’t want to work. We came here to win another Memorial Cup, that was our goal, and we didn’t do it.”
NHL.com’s Apron Basu’s recap does include Jurco’s second goal in its 1:01 highlight clip…
No 2 star - Tomas Jurco, Saint John Sea Dogs
Down a goal with a little fewer than 11 minutes to play, the Saint John Sea Dogs lined up for a faceoff in the offensive zone. Tomas Jurco and centre Zack Phillips had a brief discussion in the short break prior to the draw and Jurco, the Slovakian who had been hard on himself for not scoring any goals, made an adjustment right before the faceoff.
“He told me he was going to win it, he was going to try to win it to me,” said the Detroit Red Wings pick. “He told me to shoot glove, and to shoot low because there was going to be lots of people in front of the net.
Phillips won the draw cleanly, and the puck landed right on the tape of Jurco. Shawinigan’s Gabriel Girard may have blinked, and the puck was behind him, as Jurco’s shot found the back of the net.
That wasn’t the only goal Jurco scored on the night. He had also deflected a Kevin Gagné shot from the high slot in the first period on the powerplay. That goal was also a tying marker: making the game 2-2.
Jurco will at least have something other than his stick deal with Easton to celebrate over the next few days as he, Calle Jarnkrok and Teemu Pulkkinen will be cashing signing bonuses of somewhere close to $100,000 when they sign their entry-level contracts.
Also of Red Wings-related note this morning: If you were a Johnny Wilson fan, the Detroit Free Press’s George Sipple reports that his family is auctioning off memorabilia from the recently-deceased Wing’s career today in Walled Lake, MI:
Blue Star Auction Company is holding a vintage sports memorabilia auction today and about 60 of the lots come from Wilson’s estate, including trophies and hockey sticks.
“There’s a couple trophies going back to when he played with Detroit,” said Wilson’s son, Kelly, who lives outside of Charlotte, N.C. “There was a clothing store down in Detroit and every year they gave a player of the year award to the Red Wings. He had two of those. Those are in (the auction).”
Johnny Wilson had the foresight to sign many of the items that he knew would eventually be auctioned from his estate.
“Anything dealing with hockey, he figured, ‘I’m going to sign it,’ ” Kelly Wilson said. “That’s why there’s a lot of autographed stuff in the auction.”
Blue Star’s preview starts at 10 a.m., and the auction begins at 11 a.m. at 1730 Traditional Drive, Suite 100, in Walled Lake. A 12% buyer’s premium will be charged at the auction. For more information, call 734-558-2278.
• Pavel Datsyuk took part in a press conference in his hometown of Yekaterinburg on Friday, and while he didn’t add much in the way of “new stuff” to the mix while speaking to 66.ru’s Sergey Panin (aside from admitting that negative articles about Russia’s World Championship titles motivated him, that he found the IIHF rule which states that playing the puck with one’s foot is illegal a bit strange coming from the NHL, and that he’ll try to bring the World Championship trophy to Yekaterinburg before his hockey school on July 19th—otherwise, he rehashed most of the stuff he said after winning the Worlds), some of you might enjoy looking at the photo gallery from his presser, and as is always the case with Russian websites, beware spyware and intrusive ads;
• In free agency news, and specifically regarding speculation about Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, we’ll find out whether the playoffs put a dent in what the New York Post’s Larry Brooks and others have reported to be massive financial issues for the New Jersey Devils, and regarding one Ryan Suter and the Predators’ finances, JJ from Kansas penned an extensive analysis of the Predators’ financial situation in the comments of the Parise/Suter entry, noting that the Tennessean’s Nate Rau almost got the Predators’ ownership group to admit that, like the Phoenix Coyotes, the only way that the Predators franchise stays afloat is thanks to an absolutely silly amount of public money which subsidizes the franchise/arena…
Long story short, let’s just say that hockey and/or arena profits and the Predators rarely meet, so if Ryan Suter’s looking for assurances that the Predators will be a “cap team” for years to come…Not so much, Ryan, not so much;
• Sometimes ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside get a little carried away in the buddy-buddy ribbing during their video and/or column chats during the season, but the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater and SI’s Allan Muir are downright hostile and kind of mean-spirited in their “new” SI “Insights and Insults” column, and Dater just happened to mention one item of Red Wings-related note while talking about the unpleasantries exchanged in the Coyotes-Kings handshake line:
DATER: Yes, I was there in ‘96, at McNichols Sports Arena, watching that handshake line after the Avs beat the Red Wings. This was the infamous one, right after Claude Lemieux’s horrible hit broke bones in Draper’s nose, jaw, cheekbone and right eye socket, with five teeth bent inward and 40 stitches around his eye. (I looked this up, from an old story I did.) The thing was, nobody on the Wings, except captain Steve Yzerman, knew how badly Draper was hurt at the time of the handshake. The team’s medical staff didn’t tell anybody besides him and the coaches while the game was on because they didn’t want the Wings retaliating the whole time—Game 6, with Detroit down 3-2. It wasn’t until after the game, in the locker room, that they saw. That’s when Dino Ciccarelli uttered the immortal words “I can’t believe I shook this guy’s frickin’ hand.” Or maybe his words were, to bad lip read here: “I cart bonanzas into sashaying tad gummit friendly henriettas.” I’m not sure.
The Space Canoe…Is a strange man.
• And in cheerier news, via RedWingsFeed, here’s good news if you plan on heading up to the Red Wings’ summer prospect camp, or just plan on attending Traverse City’s Cherry Festival, which takes place at the same time, from RedWingsCamps on Twitter:
We are excited to announce that #redwings development camp will partner with the national cherry festival. More details to follow. #drwdc
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.