After months of speculation and weeks of rumors, Dominik Hasek, superstar netminder brought to Detroit for the lone purpose of winning the Stanley Cup, is hanging up the skates.
Hasek, thought by many to be the greatest goaltender in the NHL, came to the Red Wings from the Buffalo Sabres in a trade last summer, part of Detroit’s reloading effort after their first-round loss to Los Angeles in previous spring. Along with summer acquisitions Luc Robitaille, Brett Hull and Fredrik Olausson, chose to come to Hockeytown for the chance to win the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup was the lone remaining goal for Hasek, who had already claimed six Vezina Trophies and two Hart Trophies with Buffalo. Speculation reguarding his return to the Red Wings began during the Winter Olympics in February and heated up after the Red Wings claimed the Stanley Cup two weeks ago.
With Hasek’s retirement, the Red Wings are left without a starting goaltender. They are expected to sign any of the free agent netminders available this summer, a list that includes Curtis Joseph of the Maple Leafs, Ed Belfour of the Stars, Byron Dafoe of the Bruins and Mike Richter of the Rangers.
Hasek’s announcement, which was made at an 11:30 AM press conference at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday, comes on the heels of the retirement of longtime Detroit coach Scotty Bowman.
Hasek said that the Red Wings knew when the came to Detroit that he would play for one more year, and that he would decide about his future after that. He also said that he made the decision five days after the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, after sitting down with his wife to talk about their options.
Hasek will return to his native Czech Republic to raise his children.