The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/25/12 at 02:16 PM ET
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 #4: MLive’s Brendan Savage is in on the news, too.
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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