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Yes, Dominik Hasek is indeed planning another comeback

Updated 5x with more Czech and Wings beat writer reaction at 7:40 PM: I mentioned this in passing while penning the overnight report because I thought it was amusing, but gauging by the retweets from RedWingsFeed and a story just posted by CBS Detroit, I’m guessing that the story merits its own entry:

Former Red Wings goalie Dominik Hasek did indeed tell iSport.cz that he’s interested in playing in trying to make one more NHL comeback at 47 years of age, despite having spent the last year traveling the world after not securing a KHL contract. Here’s a terribly rough translation of the article in question:

Return of the legend? Hasek wants back into the NHL, is in America

Czech hockey fans may have something to look forward to. The legendary Dominik Hasek (47 years old) has stated that he wants to return to the world’s greatest hockey league, and where he spent the years of his greatest glory—the NHL! Other engagements haven’t attracted him, and he’d stated that he didn’t want to negotiate another comeback in America. Now he is, however, mysteriously silent about his future…

According to Sport sources, Hasek spent recent days specifically in Buffalo and Detroit, the two places where he left his deepest impression overseas…

“No, I’m not aware of any negotiations,” Hasek’s agent, Rich Winter, said to Sport on Thursday.

“Of course I know what I want [to do],” said the goalie himself to Sport. “Even my agent knows it, but otherwise, I won’t comment on it,” said Hasek, who at least admitted that he’d started to extensively prepare for the next season.

His return is shrouded in mystery, and only one thing is almost certain: the legend wants to try to return overseas.

The Czech news agency CTK picked up the story, and stated that Hasek is in fact in the U.S. to visit his son, Michael, who attends Michigan State University, and they received the following comment from Hasek:

“I think it is better that only the two sides [negotiating] know, and that’s enough. [It’s] not appropriate to publish something now.”

Like I said in the overnight report, with the Wings weighing whether to lean on Joey MacDonald or to tap the only deep part of the free agent pool in its crop of backup goaltenders, it sounds crazy to suggest that Hasek could become a Wing for the fourth time, but stranger things have happened.

Update: iSport.cz did post two more articles:

1. In the first, from Pavel Barta and Zdenek Janda, Hasek’s closest friends know that he’s attempting to make one more comeback, but they don’t know the names of the teams involved—gasp, neither does his wife!—and Barta and Janda suggest that if Hasek doesn’t garner an NHL contract, he’ll hang up his skates for good;

2. And this is a cut-and-paste, “quick and dirty” translation, but here’s what Hasek had to say to Barta, more or less:

Interview with Hasek: The NHL? I’m in great shape, and they know it

Interview: He didn’t give up his thoughts about a comeback, but at all costs he doesn’t want to be pressured to go anywhere. After a year off, Dominik Hasek would still like to catch a break. But only if he gets a satisfactory offer from a club that can still give him something.

“We’re working on it, but I don’t know the answer yet,” said the 47-year-old goalie to Sport, who recently returned from overseas, where he visited his son Michael, and reportedly met with NHL representatives.

Question: You recently returned from overseas. Can one infer from that that you are thinking more about it?

Hasek: “What do you want to hear? I didn’t do one nor another. Of course, my agent, Rich Winter, knows what I want. We’re working and will see how it goes, I don’t know. But I don’t want to comment, because then I’ll get stuck with what and exactly how it goes. (laughs) The plans that I had in mind last year, nothings’ changed. But at the moment I have nothing ahead of what I’d wanted to do. So I’ll wait and see. I’ll see, it will probably be decided in June.”

Question: And what does this plan look like?

Hasek: I know what I want, I know where I want to play, but I’m not going to talk about it. I think it’s better if you only know there are two sides, and that’s enough. Now it’s not appropriate to publish anything.

Question: Very well. Over the past few weeks, however, you were overseas. Did you take steps toward a possible contract there as well?

Hasek: On these issues I work with my old agent. He has offices in Europe and North America. We’ve talked together, we’re working on it. I’d be happy if it turned out [well], but there’s no answer yet.”

Question: And what about offers from Russia?

Hasek: I don’t know, to be honest. Nothing against them, but I don’t even care about that.”

Question: Among the leading candidates from the Czech Extraliga is newcomer Chomutov. Is that so?

Hasek: (laughs) “I will say this: I’ve heard from a variety of clubs in Europe, I’ve taken my phone calls. But I said tank you or wrote them text messages. I won’t say who, or why, now. It’s not right, and it’s not what I wanted. I apologized in summary.”

Question: So you’d prefer to play overseas…

Hasek: “I never said that. I just said that I know what I want and that I’m in discussions.”

Question: You’re preparing for the new season?

Hasek: “I train regularly, almost every day, without exception. It’s almost for fun, and I’m in great shape! And the other sides know it. Of course, if I’d agree, I’d go even moer intensely, by late June or such. I still haven’t gone on the ice, I went just before last season. But that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t prepare any differently.”

Question: Would you train again under [your trainer] Josef Bruk?

Hasek: “I have a deal with Pepa. He knows if I hear from me we’ve got a promise that we’ll work together. I told him that I knew something, I can tell him when to start. That’s how we’ll try to reflect on what might happen.”

Update #2: Pro Hockey Talk’s Mike Halford provides the link to an earlier iSport article about Hasek possibly playing for the Chomutov Pirates because Josef Bruk, who is, again, his trainer, has been hired as Chomutov’s goalie coach.

Update #3: The Free Press’s James Jahnke and the Detroit News’s Ted kulfan have picked up on the story.

Update #4: MLive’s Brendan Savage is in on the news, too.

Update #5: The Windsor Star’s Dave Waddell also confirms, and on Twitter, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan offers this...

Is it April Fools Day? Dominik Hasek considering a comeback? Seriously? The Dominator didn’t dominate his final NHL season.

While the Free Press’s Helene St. James adds equally skeptical notes:

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

Update #5.5: Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes missed the, “During his time with the Wings, he actually be bacame a team player” memo. Per Sportsnet’s Luke Fox:

Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes, who followed Hasek’s play and understood his prickly relationship to the Senators team during his stint in Ottawa six years ago, doesn’t foresee an NHL club giving Hasek a shot. Unless, John Muckler, who was a big Hasek supporter in Buffalo and Ottawa, suddenly gets back in the GM game.

“He was broken down then,” Mendes says of the 2006 Dominator, who never played a postseason game for the promising club. “And he’s not a mentor.”

The question isn’t really “Is Hasek serious about getting back in the NHL?”

It’s “Would anyone in the NHL be serious about giving a 47-year-old, regardless of his resume, a look?”

Jimmy Howard thought that Hasek was a pretty solid mentor.

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Comments

Avatar

not happenin

Posted by callmedrw from detroit on 05/25/12 at 03:35 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Screw it, invite his psycho ass to training camp. How bad could he be?

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 05/25/12 at 03:43 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Does anyone actually believe a 47 year-old with a 57 year-old groin will play in the NHL again?

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/25/12 at 03:51 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I’m willing to bet he’d be far more capable that Conks was last year.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/25/12 at 03:52 PM ET

Avatar

Does anyone actually believe a 47 year-old with a 57 year-old groin will play in the NHL again?

No, but some team team should sign him and Roloson, just so they can have a goalie tandem with a combined age of 90.

Posted by jwad on 05/25/12 at 04:14 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Sanity and Hasek do not meet often, Paul. He could be just stroking his massive ego by asking Winter to see if anybody in the NHL is willing to add a goalie who hasn’t played hockey since the 2010-2011 season, and he could be very serious about giving ‘er one more go.

The Czech media indulges Dom’s trips into the land of, well, Dom, so who knows…But very little in his career made sense after his first retirement, and you just never know.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/25/12 at 04:16 PM ET

DocF's avatar

I’m willing to bet he’d be far more capable that Conks was last year.

Thus sayeth MOWingsfan19 on 05/25/12 at 01:52 PM ET

I suspect he would be about the same as Conklin.  At his best, Hasek scared me.  A goalie can only rely on his reflexes for so long.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 05/25/12 at 04:16 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Screw it, invite his psycho ass to training camp. How bad could he be?

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 05/25/12 at 01:43 PM ET


The caboose is called “The Hasek” for a reason…

Posted by Primis on 05/25/12 at 04:26 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

I’m not sure how to take that, Primis.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 05/25/12 at 04:52 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Can we invite him back for just a game or two?  I’d watch that if he promises to run Gaborik again.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 05/25/12 at 05:10 PM ET

Lisa McRitchie's avatar

I think that the Islanders are just crazy enough to invite him to camp.

Posted by Lisa McRitchie on 05/25/12 at 05:46 PM ET

dougie's avatar

Well, I consider myself an expert on 57 year old groins, since I possess one.

My 57 year old groin is extremely focused, much more so than in years past. It HAS to be. And it doesn’t wander from the crease any longer. Stays closer to home than in years past.

Just sayin’

Posted by dougie on 05/25/12 at 05:57 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

No, but some team team should sign him and Roloson, just so they can have a goalie tandem with a combined age of 90.
Posted by jwad on 05/25/12 at 02:14 PM ET

Hahaha…. This^^^^^

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/25/12 at 06:17 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

Gotta say it would be awesome to see that crazy Czech as our backup again.  And wasn’t he actually playing pretty good when he was on his hometown team?  With other goalies I’d say this sounds insane, but Dom is a freak of nature and we know he loves Detroit.  Plus I’m sure he could teach Jimmy more than a thing or two which never hurts.

Still, I’ll stick with George’s earlier suggestion that Clemmensen would look real good as the backup.  He definitely held his own in that Jersey series.

Posted by BrendonR on 05/25/12 at 07:24 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

I think Philly would be a good fit.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from Where the GM likes his team. on 05/25/12 at 09:13 PM ET

Avatar

You guys suck.  I love Dom.  And would love to see him in net as Jimmy’s backup!

Posted by Bradley from Laramie, WYoming on 05/25/12 at 10:06 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

For a guy who relied on reaction and reflexes and groin, this cannot be a good plan.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 05/25/12 at 11:19 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Dom actually has a system of play and set reactions to shots. It’s just hard to spot.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/25/12 at 11:26 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Just for you WingsFaninBeanLand,

Perhaps it’s a bit ridiculous to suggest and this is nothing more than stirring the pot (sorry, it is the off-season!) but there’s a case to be made for Hasek for all the obvious reasons you’ve probably already read or heard. The Flyers, as we know, aren’t afraid to bring in players from the KHL. Nor are they afraid to take risks on aging veterans, as Jagr’s signing last season proved.

Hasek has won a Cup. He’s a six-time Vezina recipient. He is a proven veteran, a guy who could bring knowledge and experience to the dressing room. Especially if Jagr departs the Flyers this summer and Chris Pronger doesn’t play, that’s something the team could be in search of.

Of course, all of this is just speculation. Hasek reportedly said only that his agent knows he’s interested in a return, and declined to make any further comments. And even if he does come back to the NHL, he’d be a huge risk – considering both his age and the fact that he’s been away from the NHL for four seasons.

more at CSNPhilly

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/25/12 at 11:36 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m not a fan of CSN’s standards rumor-wise…CSN Philly’s John Boruk (some of you from Metro Detroit might remember his very brief tenure as a WDIV sports dude) will blather on about any old free agent being a “fit” for Philly, and in a column about Dennis Wideman, CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley talked about Zach Parise going to New York, Philadelphia, Detroit or Minnesota like it was gospel, not single-article postulation in the first two instances, and he insisted that Matt Carle was going to Calgary because he’s been mentioned as a Flames target up there.

They’re halfway to Bleacher Report in terms of equating rumors with truth.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/25/12 at 11:49 PM ET

Avatar

6th seeded team in the East vs 8th seeded team in the West is your NHL SC final.

hOW eXCITING

And The High-Flying Hashek is baack. Now that’s exciting.

Posted by Alex on 05/26/12 at 01:11 AM ET

Avatar

What would the harm be in letting him come to camp? We’re talking about the runaway best goalie of the save percentage era here. If anyone can be effective at age 47, it’s this guy.

I think the chances that he makes the team are slim (if not none), but why not offer the audition? We know Jimmah is going to be the starter, we know Joey (or some other signing) will be a decent backup, so why not give Hasek a few games in the pre-season?

At the very least, it will 1) probably earn the Red Wings a little extra money in pre-season ticket sales, and 2) might convince some other franchise (like, say, the Islanders) to say “what the hell?” and take a chance on him. That’d be great, because I’m a sucker for improbably old guys playing pro sports.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 05/26/12 at 02:28 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.