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Could Dominik Hasek hack it as a 47-year-old NHL back-up? Probably…

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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Comments

Primis's avatar

I don’t think Hasek can.  I think he likes the idea, but lacks the drive at this point to grind out an 82-game schedule + playoffs.

Posted by Primis on 05/30/12 at 12:12 PM ET

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Yeah, no thanks.

Posted by Jeremy from Toledo, OH on 05/30/12 at 12:24 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

He’s probably in physical shape to do it, and likely still has fast enough reflexes. But like Primis said - he likely lacks the motivation to flail about on a regular enough basis to get him hired on somewhere. That said, I’d love to see him give it a go in Buffalo for one more season.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 05/30/12 at 12:42 PM ET

Ducksworth's avatar

Hasek is one of my all-time favorite goaltenders but at 47 he can’t have much left in the tank but who knows maybe someone will give him a chance at the back-up role.

Posted by Ducksworth from Brownstown, MI on 05/30/12 at 12:55 PM ET

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IIRC, in 2008, didn’t MacDonald usually have to back up when Osgood started so as not to have to put in Hasek with no chance to warm up his wonky groin ? Has his groin gotten better over these last 4 years ?

Posted by mc keeper on 05/30/12 at 01:04 PM ET

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IIRC, in 2008, didn’t MacDonald usually have to back up when Osgood started so as not to have to put in Hasek with no chance to warm up his wonky groin ? Has his groin gotten better over these last 4 years ?

I dont recall this, but i do remember when Hasek came back from retirement the first time, and the wings had signed Cujo.  Legacy was the back up, and Hasek and Cujo would never dress on the same night.  I seem to remember the talk was that they didnt get along, or were upset sharing the spotlight, and didn’t even want to be in the building when the other was playing.

I dont think anyone team would take a chance this time around, but when the talk first started i thought of that situation.  If a team didnt mind carrying three goalies, and the price was right, it might be worth a chance.  Or as a backup for a someone like Kiprusoff who is going to play 70+ games anyway.

Posted by jwad on 05/30/12 at 01:16 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I really, really, really wish Dom would just hang ‘em up.  I love him.  I cried when he got pulled in the 2008 playoffs and never returned.  But this is not a good idea - for anyone.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/30/12 at 02:45 PM ET

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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.