|Played For:||NHL |
Detroit Red Wings
|Birth Date:||1965 1, mf=yes|
|Birth Place:||Pardubice, CS|
|Draft Team:||Chicago Blackhawks|
Dominik Hašek ( in Czech; born January 29, 1965) is a retired Czech ice hockey goaltender. In his 18-season NHL career, he played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, and the Ottawa Senators. During his years in Buffalo, he became one of the league's finest goaltenders, earning him the nickname "The Dominator." His strong play has been credited with establishing European goaltenders in a league widely dominated by North Americans.
Hašek was one of the league's most successful goaltenders of the 1990s and early 2000s. From 1993 to 2001, he won six Vezina Trophies, and in 1998 he became the first goaltender to win consecutive Hart Trophies. During the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, he led the Czech national ice hockey team to its first and only Olympic gold medal. The feat made him a popular figure in his home country and prompted hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to call him "the best player in the game." While with the Red Wings in 2002, Hašek became the first European starting goaltender to win the Stanley Cup. In the process, he set a record for shutouts in a postseason year.
Hašek is considered an unorthodox goaltender, with a distinct style that has labeled him a "flopper." He is best known for his concentration, foot speed, flexibility, and unconventional saves, such as covering the puck with his blocker rather than his trapper.
Hašek is regarded as a future Hall of Famer by those in the hockey world. At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest active goalie in the NHL at 43, and the second oldest active player in the league after Red Wings teammate Chris Chelios, who was 46. Hašek announced his retirement on June 9, 2008.
In 1981, the 16-year old Hašek joined the top hockey league in the country, playing for his home team HC Pardubice of the Czechoslovak Extraliga, winning two league titles in 1987 and 1989. The next year, he was drafted by the Czech army to play for Dukla Jihlava. After making his mark and eventually playing for the Czechoslovakian National team, Hašek entered the NHL draft and was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1983. At the time, NHL teams were wary of drafting players from behind the Iron Curtain who were often unwilling to play in the NHL or barred from doing so by their countries. Consequently, Hašek was picked in the 10th round (199th overall) and was the seventeenth goalie selected. Hašek did not even know he had been drafted until several months later. The Blackhawks offered Hašek a contract prior to the 1987–88 season, but he rejected it because at that time he did not feel the desire to leave his home country to play in North America.
Until 1990, Hašek played in his native Czechoslovakia for HC Pardubice and HC Jihlava. He was named the top ice hockey player of the Czechoslovak Extraliga in 1987, 1989, and 1990, and Goaltender of the Year from 1986 through 1990. With the end of communist rule in 1989, the borders of the Soviet Bloc countries opened, allowing Hašek to emigrate to the United States with aspirations of playing in the NHL. His American career began with the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, where he played parts of two seasons. His NHL debut with the Blackhawks finally came in the 1990–91 season, eight years after the 1983 NHL Entry Draft.
In Chicago, Hašek spent time as the backup to Ed Belfour, and played only 25 games over two seasons with the Blackhawks. On November 6, 1990, wearing the number 31, Hašek made his first NHL start in a 1–1 tie against the Hartford Whalers. His first victory came on March 8, 1991, in a 5–3 performance over the Buffalo Sabres, and on January 9, 1992, he recorded his first shutout in a 2–0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After a Stanley Cup finals loss to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hašek was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for goalie Stephane Beauregard and future considerations, which later materialized into a draft pick used to obtain Éric Dazé. In Buffalo, wearing number 39, he was initially the backup goaltender, first playing behind Tom Draper and then Grant Fuhr. When Fuhr was injured partway through the season, Hašek was elevated to starter, where he soon developed into a top tier goaltender. In 1994, he won his first Vezina Trophy, was runner-up for the Hart Trophy and shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Fuhr. Hašek played 58 games with a league-best 1.95 goals against average (GAA), seven shutouts, and a .930 save percentage. He followed this feat by again winning the Vezina Trophy and again placing as a Hart finalist in 1995.
Hašek's continued success in the 1996–97 season was overshadowed by a conflict with then-head coach Ted Nolan. The conflict created a tense, clique-like atmosphere in the Sabres' clubhouse. In game three of the first round series against the Ottawa Senators, Hašek removed himself in the second period and was replaced by Steve Shields. Hašek suffered a mild sprain of his right MCL, and the team doctor pronounced him day-to-day. However, the media and some teammates speculated that Hašek was using his injury to bail out on the team. One such individual was Buffalo News columnist Jim Kelley, who wrote a column which detailed Hašek's injury and his conflict with Nolan, and questioned the goaltender's mental toughness. When Kelley approached Hašek for an interview after a loss in game five of the best-of-seven series, Hašek attacked the journalist and received a three-game suspension and a $10,000 (US) fine as a result of the incident. With Steve Shields in goal, the Sabres fought back against the Senators and took the series in seven games. However, Hašek claimed his knee was still injured and did not play in the five-game loss in the following series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Though General Manager John Muckler was named "Executive of the Year", he was fired for his constant feuding with Nolan. Hašek, who sided with Muckler, stated in an interview during the 1997 NHL Awards Ceremony that it would be better if Nolan was not rehired. Despite winning the Jack Adams Award as top coach and being popular with the Sabres fanbase, Nolan was only offered a one-year contract extension by replacement GM Darcy Regier. He rejected this under the grounds that it was too short, and decided to part ways with the franchise. This upset many fans, who blamed Nolan's departure on Hašek's alleged attempt to rid him. For the first six weeks of the next season he was booed so vigorously that arena workers would play tapes of a crowd cheering to help balance it out. As the season progressed, Hašek played well and won back many fans. He won the Vezina Trophy again, as well as the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Hart Trophy for league MVP. He became one the few goaltenders in NHL history to win the Hart, alongside Al Rollins and José Théodore, and Hall of Famers Jacques Plante, Chuck Rayner and Roy Worters.
Hašek played a career high 72 games in the 1997–98 season, and set a team record with 13 shutouts. Six of these shutouts came in December, which tied the all-time NHL record for most in one month. He again won the Lester B. Pearson Award, the Hart Trophy, and the Vezina Trophy, becoming the first goalie in NHL history to win the Hart twice. He donated the $10,000 prize money after winning the Pearson Award in 1998 to the Variety Club of Buffalo. In the off-season he signed a $26 million deal, the highest goaltender salary contract at that time.
In 1999, Hašek averaged a career best 1.87 GAA and .937 save percentage, capturing him his third consecutive Vezina, and fifth overall. He was also a finalist for the Hart and Pearson trophies. Though the Sabres did not have a stellar regular season and finished with the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, they defeated the Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs en route to a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Dallas Stars. The Sabres eventually lost the series four games to two, with the decisive sixth game being one of the longest Stanley Cup playoff games in NHL history. Hašek and Ed Belfour made 50 and 53 saves, respectively, in a sudden-death triple-overtime duel that only ended when Brett Hull scored a controversial Cup-winning goal with his foot in the goal crease. The goal was not reviewed immediately, so officials did not notice Hull's foot in the crease until minutes later. After video reviews showed Hull's position, the goal was still upheld, leaving the Sabres infuriated. Hašek commented, "Maybe [the video goal judge] was in the bathroom. Maybe he was sleeping. Maybe he doesn't know the rule." The following season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that video replays would no longer be used to judge if players are in the crease or not, and that it would be a judgment call by the officiating crew.
After the season ended, Hašek contemplated retirement because of a combination of injuries and a desire to become more involved in his family life. The announcement stunned many of his teammates, particularly Mike Peca and Jason Woolley.
In the 1999–2000 season, Hašek was hampered by a nagging groin injury. He missed forty games and failed to win a major NHL award for the first time in several years. Though he healed in time for the playoffs, the Sabres were eliminated in the first round in five games by the Philadelphia Flyers.
In 2000–01 — his final season with Buffalo — Hašek set a modern era record by collecting his sixth Vezina Trophy. He also won his second William M. Jennings Trophy. The Sabres played Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs again, where Hašek outplayed his 1998 Olympic back-up Roman Čechmánek. In the clinching sixth game, Hašek recorded a shutout against the Flyers. In the second round, the Sabres played a seven-game series against Mario Lemieux's Pittsburgh Penguins, which culminated with the Penguins winning the final game in overtime.
Before the start of the next season, Hašek was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in an attempt to lower the Sabres' payroll and to send Hašek to a more competitive team. He was dealt for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a first round selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and future considerations, which eventually became the draft pick of Jim Slater. During his first season with Detroit, Hašek posted a career high 41 wins with just 15 losses, helping the Red Wings earn the President's Trophy with the league's best record. In the playoffs, he led the Wings past the Vancouver Canucks, the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche and eventually the Carolina Hurricanes in the finals to win the Stanley Cup. During the conference finals against Colorado, he became the first goalie to be awarded an assist on an overtime game-winning goal in the post-season after passing the puck to Wings captain Steve Yzerman, who then assisted Fredrik Olausson in scoring the final goal of the third game of that series. He also set a record for most shutouts in a post-season with six.
That summer, Hašek officially announced his retirement so that he could spend time with his family and other hobbies. However, after Detroit's first round loss to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the following season, he expressed his desire to play again. This created a difficult situation for the Red Wings, who had two years left on Curtis Joseph's three-year $24 million contract, which had a no-trade clause. Detroit was also under pressure knowing that the rival Colorado Avalanche would be looking for a goalie to replace Patrick Roy after his retirement. With Manny Legacé also on the Wings' roster, Detroit now had three potential starting goalies.
In the 2003–04 season Hašek injured his groin after playing just 14 games. On January 9, he and the team agreed he should rest his injury for two to four weeks. Hašek privately told general manager Ken Holland that he would not accept any pay while he was injured. On February 10, he announced that he was not going to continue to play that season, surprising the Red Wings management. He eventually revealed that he refused about $3 million of his $6 million salary. In April 2004, he underwent groin surgery in Prague, and returned to his hometown of Pardubice to recuperate.After his contract with the Wings expired, Hašek announced his intention to play for a Stanley Cup contender, and specifically named the Ottawa Senators as a possibility. On July 6, 2004, after trading Patrick Lalime to the St. Louis Blues, the Senators signed Hašek to a one-year deal.
During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, Hašek toured with the Primus Worldstars. Similar to the tour Wayne Gretzky and IMG formed during the 1994-95 NHL lockout, the Primus Worldstars Tour ran December 7–23, playing in seven different countries (Riga, Latvia; Moscow and St Petersburg, Russia; Bratislava, Slovakia; Bern, Switzerland; Karlstad, Jonkoping and Linkoping, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Katowice, Poland) in ten scheduled games. The tour competed against all-star teams or club teams of each country.
Hašek played increasingly well for the Senators up until the 2006 Winter Olympics. During the season, he reached 300 career wins, and his GAA and save percentage were the second-best in the league. However, at the Winter Olympics, he injured his right adductor muscle while making a save in the first qualifying match against Germany, forcing him to leave the game after only 9 minutes and 25 seconds. Hašek's injury caused him to miss the rest of the regular season and post-season, despite several rumours that he would return intime for the playoffs. He said that if he were to be re-signed, he would play for a base salary of$500,000 with bonuses. After the Senators were eliminated in the second round, they opted not to re-sign Hašek, despite Hašek's willingness to take a pay cut.On July 31, 2006, at the age of 41, Hašek joined the Red Wings for the third time. He signed a one-year $750,000 UScontract, with added bonuses if the team succeeded in the playoffs. He posted 38 wins and a 2.05 GAA while leading the Red Wings tothe number one seed in the Western Conference. He also broke his own personal record by going 181 minutes and 17 seconds without allowing a goal. Midway through the regular season, the team announced that to avoid injury and preserve Hašek for the playoffs, he would not play on consecutive nights. He played his first consecutive nights of the season on April 21 and 22 against the Calgary Flames in games 5 and 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Hašek won both games, clinching the series for Detroit. In the next round against the San Jose Sharks, the Red Wings were on the road and down two games to one, but Hašek held the Sharks to three goals in the next three games. His 28-save shutout in game six tied him for sixth place on the all-time NHL playoff shutouts list and sent the Red Wings to the Western Conference finals against the Anaheim Ducks. However, Hašek and the Red Wings lost in six games to the Ducks, who eventually defeated the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup.
Hašek contemplated retirement in the 2007 offseason, but on July 5, 2007, he signed a one-year contract with Detroit worth $2 million with up to $2 million in bonuses, reportedly turning down $5 million for salary cap room for the rest of the Red Wings' roster.
During the 2007-08 season, he was replaced by backup Chris Osgood. When Hašek recovered and got back into his stride, Detroit chose to alternate goaltenders in tandem instead of designating either as the backup. Detroit coach Mike Babcock announced Hašek to start in the 2008 playoffs. Through the first two games against the Nashville Predators, the Red Wings were victorious, but after a lackluster performance in the next two, Osgood was declared as the number one goaltender for the playoffs. Despite expressing disappointment at losing his starting position, Hašek maintained his professionalism in practice and continued to support his teammates, with Darren McCarty citing close relationship between Hašek and Osgood. Eventually the Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games for the Stanley Cup.
On June 9, 2008, Hašek announced his retirement from the NHL, only five days after winning his second Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings. He says he lacks the motivation for another year in the NHL. With Osgood, the two were awarded the William Jennings Trophy for least goals against on a team in the season. Hašek is expected to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
- Competitor for the Czech Republic Hašek's most memorable international performance came in the 1998 Winter Olympics, where he led the Czech national team to the gold medal. He allowed six goals in total, with only two of them coming in the medal round. Against Team Canada in the semifinals, Hašek stopped Theoren Fleury, Ray Bourque, Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric Lindros, and Brendan Shanahan in a dramatic shootout win. He then shut out the Russian team 1–0 in the final game, stopping 20 shots. He was later announced as the best goaltender in the Olympics. After he won the gold, he was quoted as saying: His play made him one of the most popular figures in the Czech Republic, so much so that residents chanted "Hašek to the castle!" in the streets. In response to this, Hašek called the country's president Václav Havel and jokingly told him that his job was not in jeopardy. He also helped to inspire an opera (titled Nagano) about the Czech team's gold medal victory, and in 2003, Petr Pravec and Lenka Šarounová named an asteroid (8217 Dominikhašek) in his honour. In the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Hašek played for just nine minutes and twenty-five seconds, until he injured his right adductor muscle. Despite his absence, the Czechs managed to earn the bronze medal with backup goaltender Tomas Vokoun, which Hašek received as well.
Hašek has an unorthodox goaltending style.  He is extraordinarily flexible and was jokingly described in a MasterCard commercial as having "a Slinky for a spine." In order to cover the bottom of the net, where most goals are scored, Hašek drops down on almost every shot. His "flopping" style is derived from him flailing in the crease, using every part of his body, including his head, to stop the puck. Hašek occasionally drops his stick and covers the puck with his stick hand, whereas most goaltenders would use the glove hand instead. In response to the speculation he receives from his style, Hašek explained:
Hašek's unique style has attracted fans to games. Because of his flexibility, Hašek can make difficult saves that other goalies cannot — an opposing coach once referred to them as "miracle saves." These types of saves include toe-stops, snagging pucks from behind his back, and a desperation maneuver known as the "Hašek roll".  Hašek is also known for his strict regimen of conditioning. During the off-season between May and September 2006, he lost a considerable amount of weight to increase his flexibility. Hašek was one of the few goaltenders of his time to wear the simple cage goalie mask.
Hašek and his wife Alena have a son named Michal (born 1989) and a daughter named Dominika (born 1994). He divides much of his free time playing squash and inline hockey, where he plays defense. When he was younger, Hašek played competitive soccer as a midfielder, and was a junior tennis champion in Eastern Bohemia. His brother Martin is also a competitive athlete and played for the Czech Republic soccer team AC Sparta Praha before retiring and eventually deciding to coach. Hobby-wise, Hašek claims that he has been a fan of professional wrestling since his Buffalo days, and says that he mostly follows his favorite wrestlers, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Don "The Rock" Muraco. And he and his son can be see many times through out the night at WrestleMania 23. Being front row at Ford Field.
Because of his formal education, Hašek stands out among Czech sportsmen. He earned a university degree after studying history and the Czech language in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hradec Králové, which qualified him to be a teacher, and led him to teach high school classes. Hašek also has a brand of sportswear named Dominator Clothing, which was launched shortly after the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and is popular among Dominik's fans in the Czech Republic. It also had two locations in Michigan for a short time. In May 2001, Hašek founded the Dominik Hašek Youth Hockey League/Hašek's Heroes, and donated over $1 million to help underprivileged children in Buffalo play hockey. In 1998, he also organized a charity hockey game in Prague, and donated the profits to hospitals in the Czech Republic.
Hašek is known to appreciate humor to keep team spirits up, and often jokes about his resemblance to Cosmo Kramer of Seinfeld. In the late 1990s, he was featured in a Mastercard commercial that praised his flexibility. On November 26, 2006, Mark Parisi's comic panel off the mark featured a comic about Hašek's childhood.
During an inline hockey game on May 18, 2003, Hašek was accused of assaulting another player. He was playing as a defender for Bonfire Střída when he crosschecked Martin Šíla. The prosecutor in the case, Lenka Strnadová, ruled two months later that there was no evidence that Hašek intended bodily harm and recommended the case be treated as a misdemeanor, punishable only by fine ($95 USD maximum), rather than a felony where jail time would have been possible. Hašek's lawyer Pavel Jelínek announced in a statement that media reports about the incident were exaggerated, with Šíla not having sustained any documented injuries. In October 2003, the country's top prosecutor overruled Strnadová, saying her ruling was unlawful because the case had not been properly investigated. The Pardubice prosecution then investigated the case again, and reached the same decision as Strnadová.
Hašek earned his 300th National Hockey League win on October 15, 2005, in a 5–1 home victory with the Ottawa Senators over the Boston Bruins. He stopped 34 of 35 shots and was holding a shutout until Bruins forward Pat Leahy jammed a loose puck under him three minutes into the third period. He became the twenty-second goaltender to reach the milestone. He is the oldest goaltender in NHL history to post a 30-win season, and in 1997, he became the first goaltender to win the Lester B. Pearson Award for most outstanding player in the league. He is also the only goaltender to win the Hart Trophy twice for most valuable player, and was only one Vezina Trophy away from tying Jacques Plante's record of seven. Hašek's personal best shutout streak is 181 minutes, 17 seconds.
In nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Hašek acquired over 25 franchise records, including most all-time games played, wins, shutouts and lowest goals against average. He also holds the Sabres' record for most shutouts in a single season with 13 in 1997–98, and lowest goals against average in a single season with a total of 1.87 in 1998–99. During the Detroit Red Wings' championship run in 2002, Hašek set franchise records for most games played, minutes played, wins and shutouts in a playoff year. He holds several notable NHL records:
Bolded numbers indicate season leader
|2001–02||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||65||41||15||8||3,872||140||1,654||5||2.17||.915|
|2002–03||Did not play||—||Retired|
|2003–04||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||14||8||3||2||816||30||324||2||2.20||.907|
|2004–05||Did not play||—||See 2004–05 NHL lockout|
|2006–07||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||56||38||11||6||3,341||114||1,309||8||2.05||.913|
|2007–08||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||41||27||10||3||2,350||84||855||5||2.14||.902|
† Note: As of the 2005–06 season, ties have been replaced by an overtime or shootout loss.
|2001–02||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||23||16||7||1,455||45||562||6||1.85||.920|
|2006–07||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||18||10||8||1,139||34||444||2||1.79||.923|
|2007–08||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||4||2||2||202||10||89||0||2.91||.888|
|colspan=3||NHL Playoff Totals||119||65||49||7,316||246||3,283||14||2.02||.925|
Bolded numbers indicate tournament leader
|Hart Memorial Trophy||1997, 1998|
|Lester B. Pearson Award||1997, 1998|
|Vezina Trophy||1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001|
|William M. Jennings Trophy||1994, 2001, 2008|
|NHL first All-star Team||1994, 1995, 1997 1998, 1999|
|NHL All-Rookie Team||1991–92|
|All-Star Game||1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 (did not play due to injury)|
|Award||Year nominated||Award winner|
|Hart Trophy||1993–94||Sergei Fedorov - (Detroit Red Wings)|
|Hart Trophy||1994–95||Eric Lindros - (Philadelphia Flyers)|
|Hart Trophy||1998–99||Jaromir Jagr - (Pittsburgh Penguins)|
|Lester B. Pearson Award||1998–99||Jaromir Jagr - (Pittsburgh Penguins)|
|Czech Hockey Player of the 20th century||1998|
|Czech Sportsperson of the Year||1994, 1998|
|Czechoslovak Golden Hockey Stick||1987, 1989, 1990|
|Czechoslovak First League Best Goaltender||1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990|
|Czech Golden Hockey Stick||1997, 1998 (with the Sabres)|
|Olympic Games Best Goaltender||1998|
|WC Best Goaltender||1985, 1987|
|WJC Best Goaltender Award||1982|