Red Wings Dominik Hasek breaks his stick on the ice after being called for a penalty. (CPimages /AP/Bill Kostroun)
With that in mind, the Detroit Red Wings netminder has been quite public with his feelings of not getting a chance to play in next week's NHL all-star game in Dallas. It may likely have been his last chance. "I was disappointed especially because I haven't played in it since 2002," Hasek said Tuesday from Detroit. "It's been a long time. It would have been a nice accomplishment to play in the all-star game again."
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff was a no-brainer to join Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, voted in by the fans, as the top two Western Conference netminders. Where the debate begins is whether Marty Turco of Dallas was a better choice over the likes of Hasek, Chris Mason in Nashville or J.S. Giguere in Anaheim.
The league's hockey operations department, perhaps feeling the pressure to have another Stars player for the hometown fans, selected the talented Turco.
"I cannot say I was shocked, but I was disappointed because my numbers are pretty good," Hasek said. "I felt like I deserved to be there. But on the other hand, I have to agree that Kiprusoff and Turco also have very good seasons."
Hasek's numbers suggest he's an all-star, tops in the NHL with a 1.98 goals-against average and third in wins at 24. His .914 save percentage ranks 12th. Turco has the fifth-best GAA in the NHL at 2.31 and is 15th with a .911 save percentage, also good numbers.
"I have to say, even though I'm disappointed, it wasn't my goal this summer when I signed with Detroit to play in the all-star game," said Hasek. "I have different goals in my mind."
He wants to win another championship, something he did with the Red Wings in 2002, and something he failed to deliver in Ottawa last season when a groin/hip injury sustained at the Winter Olympics in Turin put him on the shelf for the rest of the season.
While many in the hockey world saw the writing on the wall for him in Ottawa, Hasek maintains he thought he'd be a Senator again this season. Instead, Ottawa cut its ties with Hasek when it signed unrestricted free-agent goalie Martin Gerber on July 1.
"I was not surprised or shocked but I was disappointed, yes," Hasek said of Ottawa's decision.
"I was not looking around for a place," he added. "I was pretty clear, I said that I was going play only in Ottawa. But I never expected the Detroit Red Wings were going to call me. I still had some connections to this town. I knew the organization and I knew many players on the team so that's why I decided to come back and play on this team."
The Gerber signing hasn't worked out like the Senators wanted with the Swiss netminder struggling this season but luckily for them Ray Emery has bailed them out with a career year.
Likewise, Hasek has surprised many with his return to form in Hockeytown.
"This season, I'm feeling good about my health," said Hasek. "And if I feel healthy I can perform on the highest level. I feel very comfortable and I can say I feel happy in Detroit."
The Wings got him for the bargain price of US$750,000 on a one-year deal. Hasek isn't sure whether it's his last contract.
"I'll answer that the same way I always do, after I've played the last game of the season I'll make a decision," he said.