The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/30/12 at 12:45 PM ET
Realistically speaking, it’s hard to believe that any NHL team will take a chance on Dominik Hasek, whose desire to return to the NHL at the age of 47 runs into complications given that he hasn’t played in the NHL in 3 years and hasn’t played hockey at all since the 2010-2011 season. The Czech press is more or less indulging Hasek’s desire to “go out on top,” but if an NHL team were to take a chance on Hasek, New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg, color commentator Darren Pang and Red Wings goaltending coach Jim Bedard told USA Today’s Kevin Allen that they fully believe Hasek could at least hack it as a team’s back-up goaltender:
“With Dominik Hasek, you can’t count anything out,” New Jersey Devils goalie Johan Hedberg said on the eve of his team’s appearance in the Stanley Cup Final. “He didn’t play last year, but he had (seven) shutouts in the (Kontinental Hockey League) when he was 45.”
Hasek was 43 in 2008 when he won his second Stanley Cup as Chris Osgood’s backup in Detroit. He was 37 when he won the Cup as a Detroit starter in 2002.
“It would not surprise me to see him come in an A1 or A2 role where he could play here and there,” said Hedberg, 39. “But I think it would be tough for him to carry the load for a full season.
“I find it impossible to think a 47-year-old could be a No. 1 goalie in today’s game,” said former NHL goalie and current NBC analyst Darren Pang, who is one year older than Hasek. “Is it possible for Hasek to back up a top goalie and play 15-20 games? That is possible.”
When Hasek last played in the NHL in 2008, Pang recalls that the goalie “played small, looked small.”
“He was not an imposing figure,” Pang said. “His hockey brain, on the other hand, is miles ahead of the good goalie, and that’s why he may be able to back up. The older you get, the worse the eyes get. The puck is exploding off the stick faster than ever, so it’s harder to pick up the puck coming off the stick. That delayed reaction is the difference between a great save and a goal against.”
Detroit Red Wings goaltending coach Jim Bedard knows Hasek well, and he says: “I would never count him out. He’s as determined of an individual as I’ve ever met.”
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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.