Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Hasek

I've never been a big Dom Hasek booster, but The Dominator's not a figure you can ignore on the day of his retirement.

For all of the antics and theatrics, he is, quite simply, one of a kind — and one of the best goaltenders hockey has ever seen.

And for someone who wasn't even an NHL starter until age 28 and has only played 50 games in a season eight times, Hasek's had an incredible career in North America.

The hardware: Six all-star games, six first all-star teams, two Hart trophies, six Vezinas, two Lester Pearsons and two Jennings trophies

The numbers: NHL's all-time save percentage leader (.922), 18th in career games played (735), 10th in career wins (389), 11th in career points percentage (.617), sixth in shutouts (81), ninth in goals against average (2.20), 10th in shots against and ninth in saves

As I said, incredible.

Hasek was a Chicago draft pick 25 years ago at age 18, a throwaway 10th rounder used on a teenager who had been named the best goaltender at the 1983 world juniors in leading Czechoslovakia to a silver medal.

The Blackhawks offered him a contract in 1987 after some sterling performances for his home country, including a bronze medal at that year's world championship, where he was again named the tournament's top netminder. He declined the deal and was the Czech league's goalie of the year for five consecutive years from 1986-90.

Finally convinced to play in North America in 1990, he suited up for the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL for $60,000 a season.

At this point, Hasek didn't speak a word of English.

Hasek only played 25 games for Chicago before being dealt to Buffalo at the start of the 1992-93 season, and he outplayed incumbents Grant Fuhr and Daren Puppa to ultimately land the starter's job the following year.

The rest is history.

Hasek's first NHL contract was for five years and $1.95-million, but he renegotiated the final year in 1994-95 and signed a $2.15-million deal. He ultimately made roughly $60-million (U.S.) over a 16-year career in the NHL.

What many don't know is that Hasek is quite educated, with a degree in history and Czech, and he is qualified as a high school teacher.

What we all know is that he reached the pinacle of his career at the Nagano Olympics 10 years ago, leading his country to its first-ever gold medal in the sport.

The 2011 Hall of Fame class has a spot reserved just for him.



At 4:44 a.m., June 10, 2008, Anonymous Julian said...

A while back when Sam Gagner took a shot on Hasek in the shootout, someone pointed out that Gagne's father Dave was drafted in the same year as Hasek.

At 11:34 a.m., June 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bryan Murray thought that he is better off with Gerber.

I heard that Hasek has a degree from Arnold School of English, too.

At 12:23 p.m., June 10, 2008, Blogger JoBu said...

"I heard that Hasek has a degree from Arnold School of English, too."

Dom is moving to KAL-EE-FOR-NEE-AH in his retirement. Just so he can pronounce it all the time.

At 1:15 p.m., June 10, 2008, Blogger chetehc said...

Dom was so good during his Sabres years,That his goal tending,and Lindy Ruff's coaching took a team of nobodies to the Eastern Finals in 1999.Living in Buffalo i may be biased living in Buffalo,But the Dminator was the greatest goalie i have ever seen.

At 4:42 p.m., June 10, 2008, Anonymous ken said...

He was also the Czech goalie in the 1987 Canada Cup.

At 5:13 p.m., June 10, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kaspar still owns him ...

At 7:47 p.m., June 10, 2008, Blogger Leather McWhip said...

James, just out of curiosity: Considering his accomplishments, what is it specifically about Hasek and/or his career that led you to begin the blog with a negative?

At 7:56 p.m., June 10, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

There are so many different ways to answer that. Jim Kelley's piece from 2004 is a good start.

And that was before the Ottawa shenanigans.

His entire career, Hasek loved to do what I consider cheating. He'd dive, he'd knock the net off on purpose when the opposing team had a scoring chance. He was disruptive with every franchise he played with in the NHL, and his exit from Buffalo was ugly.

Early in his career, he also always struck me as quite conceited and unlikeable in interviews.

Still, as I said, he's one of the best of all-time, and I'll give him his due.

At 11:19 p.m., June 10, 2008, Blogger Jennifer said...

He's the Czech Miracle of Insanity. See A2Y's glossary of terms:

15. The Czech Miracle of Insanity
Dominik Hasek is insane. I’d call him sociopathic if I really knew what that meant. Kind of an easy term to toss around, and it’s fun to say. Challenging for a child so feel free to use it as a Phonics learning tool. Give me full credit please. Anyway, Hasek’s a crazy bastard and he played out of his foggy mind in the ‘07 playoffs. He returned in ‘08 and prompted a grass-roots attempt on my part to ignite a goalie controversy that never happened. I’ll never forgive him for not going absolutly batshit nuts in the media. Still, he is our Czech Miracle of Insanity...."The Miracle” for short. http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/A2Y/glossary/

At 9:56 a.m., June 13, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some more numbers....in case someone is still actually living in the same cave as James and Jim...

Okay....Dom for Buffalo from the 1993/94 season to the 98/99 season. Don't think he fell off too much from there, as James reluctantly illustrated, he does own the all-time record for Save %..... but here were his save %'s during that span


P. Roys % (Same years)


M Brodeur


Not even close. Please send ANY goalie who was/is close to that span. Matter of fact, scan ANY career and grab their top 6 and try to compare. Let me help you out....You can't! Hasek deserves a room in the Hall for himself. He played above all others in any ERA.....


At 11:19 a.m., June 13, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Reluctantly? This entire post is pretty darn flattering to Dom.

At 11:16 a.m., June 17, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, reluctantly. You start the "damn post" with a negative about the man. One of your next articles is about Trvor Linden and the tone is altogether different. You like him and you do not like Dominik. You allow for personality to get in the way of reporting......BIGTIME! The reader is left with the impression that he was great, yeah yeah, but he really was an ass...Oh by the way, here some flaterring stats that you will not care much about because I place them underneath the negative...including a link to more negative from another biased reporter who was smacked around by him.

You do well to report stats and facts on most other things. This time, you chose another course.

The stats say Dominik should have a special room in the hall...If you tend to go by stats then tell me why I am wrong. Otherwise, you are.



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