Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Dominik Hasek’s Hall Of Fame Case

I am continuing making the Hall of Fame cases for the 2014 player inductees.  So far I have written the cases for Rob Blake and Peter Forsberg.  Today I am writing Dominik Hasek`s case and in the future I will do Mike Modano`s case.  In order to make their case, I will use the Keltner List which is borrowed from baseball.  This is a list of questions that are designed to get to the heart of what makes a player a Hall of Famer.

Here is the post I wrote when Hasek retired.  I have considered him a Hall of Famer longer than i have been blogging so I do not have a post at that point.

Here is Dominik Hasek`s Hall of Fame case:

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

Hasek was definitely the best player in hockey at a time.  He won the Hart Trophy in 1997 and 1998.  It is rare that a goalie wins this award and unprecedented that he wins it in back-to-back seasons.  Hasek is one of the few goalies who can make the claim that he would have been a consensus choice as best player in hockey in NHL history.

2. Was he the best player on his team?

In Buffalo there is no question that Hasek was the best player on his team.  When he got to a deeper team in Detroit, it wasn`t so clear that he was the best player on his team although some would have argued that he was - at least in his first run with the Red Wings.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

I would argue that Hasek was the best goaltender in hockey ever.  He certainly was the best goalie in hockey.  He won the Vezina Trophy as top goalie in hockey six times.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

Hasek was the Red Wings top goalie in 2002 and played a significant role in that Stanley Cup run.  He also won the Stanley Cup in 2008 but he lost the Wings starting goalie job during the playoffs.  At this point he had passed his prime.  In Buffalo his team was rarely strong enough for a significant playoff run although they reached the Stanley Cup finals in 1999 and Hasek probably should have won the Conn Smythe Trophy in their losing effort. 

5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

Hasek definitely played beyond his prime years.  He was 43 when he played his final NHL game.  In fact he was 28 before he ever had a run as a starting goalie in the NHL due to making his start in Czechoslovakia during the Iron Curtain era and initially being buried in the NHL due to an unusual playing style.  At this age, many players are already winding down their careers and his NHL career was yet to come.  Hasek was 46 years old when he completed his final season in the KHL.

6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

Yes.  Usually I must preface this answer to include only hall of Fame eligible players, but in Hasek`s case that is unnecessary.

7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

Goaltending statistics do not translate well for this question.  If we start with 6 Vezina Trophies and 2 Hart Trophies as stats, these are clear Hall of Fame numbers.  Hasek has 389 career wins and 82 career shootouts in his NHL career.  Curtis Joseph and Chris Osgood have more career wins and are Hall of Fame eligible.  This makes a better case for why wins is a poor stat to rank goaltenders.  Shutouts can also be problematic, but there are no hall of Fame eligible goalies with more than Hasek.  Thus even if we accept wins and shutouts as the most meaningful goalie stats (and they are quite problematic to do so), it is fair to say most players with comparable statistics are in the Hall.

8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

His numbers do reach hall of fame standards.  His career Hart and Vezina Trophies are far beyond the level needed for induction.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

The fact that Hasek was 28 before he got a chance to be a starting goalie in the NHL is strong evidence that he was even better than his career numbers show.  Hasek could have record career wins and shutout numbers if he started playing in the NHL at a younger age.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

Yes.  Hasek is the best goaltender ever.  Thus he is the best goaltender in or out of the Hall of Fame.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

He was a two-time MVP.  He won the Vezina Trophy six times.  The Vezina Trophy is (or should be) an MVP candidate.  That gives Hasek six years as a serious MVP candidate.  Had he been healthy longer, he probably would have had more MVP type seasons.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go to the Hall of Fame?

Hasek made six All Star games.  He missed the 2001 game due to injury, so he only actually appeared in five All Star Games.  He should have made the 1995 game as well except there was no game due to a lockout.  He also won the Vezina Trophy in 1994 and was not selected for the all star Game that year.  Had there been a 2006 All Star Game, his year in Ottawa, he might have made it as well.  There was no game due to the Olympics and Hasek got hurt and missed the rest of the season during those Olympic Games.  Hasek was a Vezina candidate until that point ended his season.  Most players who make six All Star Games make the Hall of Fame, though counterexamples do exist.  Hasek`s All Star Game total is lower than one might expect under other circumstances.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

When Detroit won the 2002 Stanley Cup, some argue he was the best player on his team, though there is debate because of how deep the 2002 Detroit Red Wings were.  He clearly was the best player on the 1999 Buffalo Sabres and they made the finals.  Essentially that is the equivalent of a pennant since baseball has two leagues.  Thus it is demonstrated that a team with Hasek as its best player could win the pennant.  They essentially did that and may have also won a Stanley Cup.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

Hasek made a significant impact on NHL history by winning back-to-back Hart Trophies.  No goalie has ever done that other than Hasek.  He won six Vezina Trophies.  Perhaps his most significant success was winning the 1998 Olympic gold medal.  This was the first time NHLers went to the Olympics.  Being the key player on the first NHL Olympics is a significant impact on hockey.  Hasek paved the way for European goalies in the NHL.  He was the first superstar goalie from Europe.  Today many top goalies in the NHL are European.  Hasek had a distinctive style - though few other goalies succeeded with his style of "flopping around" often without his stick.  Hasek`s impact on hockey history is significant.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

Hasek was a bit unorthodox as a player.  Sometimes teams claimed he gave up on them when he took time off due to injury during significant runs.  Hasek was once accused of assaulting a player in an online hockey game in the Czech Republic.  This incident was probably exaggerated as Hasek was not prosecuted despite two investigations.  This is the only question on this list where I am uncertain whether or not Hasek should  get a clear "yes", although he does not get a clear no either.  Hasek is revered especially in the Czech Republic for his successes and it would be hard to convince those who revere him that he was not a character player.  I think the best conclusion is Hasek was a goaltender and goaltenders are often "different".

Dominik Hasek was the best goalie in hockey history.  That he had such a dominant career despite not being a starting goalie in the NHL until age 28 is amazing.  Dominik Hasek belongs in the Hall of Fame and is one of its most significant players.

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Comments

DrewBehr's avatar

Why are you “making cases” for guys who have already been chosen to be inducted?

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 07/06/14 at 06:41 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

I want to. 

Why are you leaving comments?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/06/14 at 06:55 PM ET

Jaromir Blogger's avatar

Nice write-up. I fully agree that Hasek is the greatest goalie in NHL history.

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 07/06/14 at 07:07 PM ET

awould's avatar

I want to.

Why are you leaving comments?

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/06/14 at 07:55 PM ET

Nice. That’s the best response to a comment you’ve ever written.

And yeah, Hasek is a no brainer.

Posted by awould on 07/06/14 at 07:41 PM ET

Avatar

There are two types of TPSH posts:

“No shit”

and

“Baseless Opinion”

Posted by redwingshomersLOL on 07/06/14 at 07:49 PM ET

Avatar

As for the content itself, it is repetitive and you left the baseball stuff in the questions. Lazy, lazy writing.

Posted by redwingshomersLOL on 07/06/14 at 08:05 PM ET

Iggy_Rules's avatar

I want to.

Why are you leaving comments?

Unbelievable.

Posted by Iggy_Rules from Calgary, Canada on 07/06/14 at 08:33 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

What is unbelievable to me is the number of people who have left comments but failed to discuss hockey at all.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/06/14 at 08:49 PM ET

Avatar

Whats there to discuss? He is already in the hall of fame, which already makes this a “no shit” post.

Then you answer each of the repetitive questions by repetitiously repeating that Hasek won the Hart trophy in back to back years and won six Vezinas. No nods to GAA, Save %, anything else, which are subject to different eras, but still.

The questions can still be part of Kletner’s List if you change “Baseball” to “Hockey” and “Pennant” to conference championship, finals appearances, etc.

Posted by redwingshomersLOL on 07/06/14 at 08:54 PM ET

bigdee89's avatar

Essentially that is the equivalent of a pennant since baseball has two leagues.  Thus it is demonstrated that a team with Hasek as its best player could win the pennant.  They essentially did that and may have also won a Stanley Cup.

This makes no sense to me but it made me laugh.  Thank-you.

Yes.  Hasek is the best goaltender ever.  Thus he is the best goaltender in or out of the Hall of Fame.

I know it’s easier to go with the first thought that pops in your head but did you ever hear of Marty Brodeur?  He’s kinda good I hear. 

I would argue that Hasek was the best goaltender in hockey ever.  He certainly was the best goalie in hockey.

LOL!  I love it!

 

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 07/06/14 at 09:05 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

There are people in the Hall of Fame who do not deserve to be there - the point of writing up the case for all inductees is to show why the good picks are good and bad picks are bad and to commemorate the inducted player..  There may be discussion of points brought up - for example you brought up GAA and saves percentage and in the same post explained why they are not so useful (very different in different eras)

Then you showed yourself to be careless by misspelling Keltner.

It is clearly most honest for me to leave the questions as they appear on the list and explain any minor modifications in the answers.

Your only point for being here is to attack me instead of address the post and if that is all you bring, you add nothing of value at all.  I fully expect you to respond with more of the same.  I hope to be proven wrong.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/06/14 at 09:10 PM ET

Avatar

Broduer built his career on longevity, and playing behind great talent with the trap.

Yawn.

Posted by redwingshomersLOL on 07/06/14 at 09:10 PM ET

Avatar

Oh no! I spelled some guy’s name incorrectly that no one has ever heard of who wrote HOF questions for baseball! OH NO OH NO GOD NO!

I could make a fun post editing all of YOUR work, but I am not that much of a troll. smile

Posted by redwingshomersLOL on 07/06/14 at 09:13 PM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

I left a comment because I believe that Kuklas Korner is an excellent resource for hockey news and information. I come here daily for updates on teams, their players, signings, injuries, etc., presented by people who do a lot of digging, have a lot of resources, and seem to be passionate about their work.

And then there is you. A person who, time and time again, writes articles similar to this one, which sound like nothing more than a regurgitation of a Wikipedia page (you could replace ‘Wikipedia page’ with ‘league standings chart’ or any other type of one-page document).

I guess what I would say, as an overall huge fan of KK, is that I wish you would bring more to the table.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 07/06/14 at 09:14 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

For the record, Bill James came up with the Keltner List.  Perhaps you should check the link I gave to it in the post.  If you have any desire of learning…

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 07/06/14 at 09:16 PM ET

Avatar

I could read Wikipedia and certainly learn more than I have reading any of your posts. wink

Posted by redwingshomersLOL on 07/06/14 at 09:18 PM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

Copying someone else’s list and using for your own work isn’t “education.” It’s also barely even considered “research.”

And if I wanted to learn about baseball criteria I sure as hell wouldn’t be on this website.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 07/06/14 at 09:34 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by brians neck on 07/06/14 at 10:34 PM ET

Jaromir Blogger's avatar

I am not the biggest TPSH fan on the face of the earth, myself, but I don’t understand why people feel the need to come in here and, frankly, just be jerks for the sake of it. If you don’t like the content, why are you deliberately clicking on the posts just to deride them in the comments section? It seems like a waste of time and energy, not to mention that it’s just plain rude.

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 07/06/14 at 10:43 PM ET

calquake's avatar

I am not the biggest TPSH fan on the face of the earth, myself, but I don’t understand why people feel the need to come in here and, frankly, just be jerks for the sake of it. If you don’t like the content, why are you deliberately clicking on the posts just to deride them in the comments section? It seems like a waste of time and energy, not to mention that it’s just plain rude.

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 07/06/14 at 11:43 PM ET

TPSH seems to bring out the worst in commenters, myself included.  However his style is confrontational when he is presented with facts that don’t conform to his narrative.  Doesn’t make him a bad person… just a huge richard.

 

Posted by calquake on 07/06/14 at 11:07 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 07/06/14 at 11:43 PM ET

He’s got a pretty long history of writing outrageously small-minded things and then attacking his commenters when they disagree with him.

I try to only get involved when he says something particularly bad or outright false. I don’t read all of his posts anymore (the heat of the comments piqued my interest today), but as far as what is “just plain rude,” I’m confident that just about anybody who appears to be acting rudely in here has at one point attempted to have a reasonable conversation with this author only to find his behavior in the comments section awful.

Like I said, I don’t come into each one of his posts and I don’t deride the articles that cover subjects like this, but personally I feel this author should be relegated to the members’ blog. I think that would solve a lot of the problems with the quality of the content and of the comments.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/06/14 at 11:12 PM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

I feel this author should be relegated to the members’ blog. I think that would solve a lot of the problems with the quality of the content

WHO CAN (PLEASE) MAKE THIS HAPPEN?

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 07/14/14 at 12:09 AM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com