The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/22/14 at 07:00 AM ET
The Hockey Hall of Fame will make its decisions as to who will make the cut for its 2014 Induction Class on Monday at 3 PM EDT (on TSN2), and there's no doubt that one former Red Wings goalie will receive a call from the Hall's Selection Committee--Dominik Hasek's a shoo-in, and the only reason he'll be inducted this November involves the fact that Hasek un-retired for a third time to play one season with Pardubice HC and another with Spartak Moscow between 2009 and 2011. In fact, after taking the 2011-2012 season off, Hasek had hoped to make yet another comeback at 47, but he received no offers to play as a starting goaltender.
As time fades on Hasek's three tenures and two Stanley Cup wins in Detroit, more hockey observers are willing to use a slightly less delicate term to describe Hasek's myriad eccentricities (from meticlous nail-clipping to allowing exactly one person to lace his catch gloves to laying all his gear out in front of him in a beat reporter-unfriendly heap after games) as "nuts," but those who played with and put up with Hasek also insist that he was a consummate professional.
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Kris Draper, Jiri Fischer, Kirk Maltby and Ken Holland about Hasek's tenure(s) with the Wings, and they all suggested that Hasek was nothing less than a tactician
Hasek once challenged a group of players that included Draper, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty and Martin Lapointe to a post-practice shootout competition.
"He said the first to 10 (goals or saves) wins and said, 'I'll give you seven goals,' " Draper said. "We were all laughing because all we had to do was score three goals. He beat us 10-7. We were embarrassed. It shows the confidence and competitiveness he had. Or maybe he picked five shooters he knew couldn't score."
Fischer, now Detroit's director of player development, said, "Ken Holland made this very interesting comment a couple of years ago that a goalie makes the practice and that's absolutely true. The better the goalie is in practice, the better it is for all players, the harder it is to score and it keeps everybody on their toes. Dom was the most competitive practice goalie ever and that translated into games."
And Hasek's performance en route to the 2002 Cup win is what most Wings fans remember (except for that whole trying to come back in 2003-2004 thing)...
Facing elimination in the Western Conference finals against Colorado, Hasek posted back-to-back shutouts (2-0, 7-0) to get the Red Wings into the Cup finals. Hasek once said Game 6 vs. the Avalanche was one that would always stick in his mind.
"It was amazing how strong he was bouncing back after a performance he didn't feel was up to his standards," Fischer said. "The bigger the game the better he got."
Draper recalled how Hasek reacted immediately after the 3-2 overtime loss to Carolina in Game 1 of the Cup finals.
"We came into the room and Dom was intense, mad, (ticked) off, you could tell how bad he wanted it," Draper said. "We all sat back and watched and let him show his frustration. You could see that passion, intensity, how badly he wanted the Stanley Cup."
But while Khan continues at length, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan talked about Hasek's legacy...
Holland feels Hasek, Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy transformed and revolutionized the goaltending position.
“What better compliment can you give a player when they’ve done that?” Holland said. “Dom would just figure out a way to make the save.”
As well as the fact that Hasek and Chris Osgood made a fantastic tandem during the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons:
“One of the best big-game goalies,” Osgood said. “And I learned so much from him, even at that point in my career, from the way he practiced, what he put into those practices.”
Osgood won "his" Cup in 2008 (some argue that anyone could've stood in the net and won the 1998 Stanley Cup, but I'm not so sure about that), but Osgood told Kulfan that he believes he'd be getting the call from the Hall in his first year of eligibility had he won back-to-back Cups in 2008 and 2009:
Osgood feels he could have clinched the argument in his favor had he won Game 7 in 2009 against Pittsburgh and earned yet another Stanley Cup.
“That one still stings, I think about that one,” Osgood said.
Forever doubted by Red Wings fans, Osgood didn’t have an always smooth ride, but it likely made him a stronger-minded goaltender.
“I persevered and it probably made me mentally stronger,” Osgood said. “I always looked forward and moved on. Ken Holland taught me ‘no excuses’ and I took that on throughout my career.”
Kulfan continues and notes that Brian Rafalski's also in his first year of eligibility.
At this point, it appears that the Hall of Fame's selection committee will induct Hasek, Westland's Mike Modano (Kulfan also reveals something particularly intriguing regarding Modano's tenure with the Wings) and Peter Forsberg, and it should be noted that the "Special Assistant to General Manager Ken Holland" (a.k.a. Kris Draper) is also eligible for induction this season...
But the Hall's very purposefully left a fourth spot to either a previously eligible inductee or has simply left that spot blank over the past half-decade, and I wouldn't be surprised if players like Eric Lindros, Dave Andreychuk, Mats Naslund, Jeremy Roenick, Mike Vernon and Sergei Makarov remain on the outside looking in.
The Hockey Hall of Fame is often criticized because its selection process remains secret, but it's worth noting that Luc Robitaille, Igor Larionov and Scotty Bowman are all members of the Selection Committee, as is former Swedish national team manager Anders Hedberg. Here's hoping that they make some brave decisions to induct "controversial" players who earned their way in (it's baffling that players like Kevin Lowe, Kent "The [orinigal] Magic Man" Nilsson and Boris Mikhailov, for example, have been "overlooked" for so very long).
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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.