(Born on January 29, 1965) -- All right, Dominik Hasek turns 48 today. Does he think he can still play goal in the National Hockey League? Could be, and who can argue? After all, Hasek is without question one of the all-time greats.
Hasek started playing hockey at the age of six in his native Czechoslovakia. His new team needed a goalie, so that’s where he played. Hasek turned pro at the age of 16, the youngest Czech player to ever do so. He won a couple of league titles, and caught the eye of the Blackhawks, who drafted him in 1983.
In 1990, Hasek arrived in Chicago, and he served as a backup to starter Ed Belfour. He achieved some fame when he replaced Belfour in Game Four of the Stanley cup finals, playing superbly in a losing cause against Pittsburgh. That caught the eye of the Sabres, who in a complicated transaction acquired him.
Hasek didn’t start right away, but took over the position in the 1993-94 season when Grant Fuhr was injured. Hasek was terrific, and Fuhr eventually was traded. For the next several years, Hasek was worth the price of admission in Buffalo. He won the league’s MVP trophy two straight times, and piled up numerous other honors (including a gold medal in 1998).
Hasek was traded to the Red Wings in 2001, and earned a Cup there. He jumped to Ottawa and then back to Detroit. From there Hasek moved overseas for a couple of more seasons, finally retiring - we think - after the 2011 season.
--- Budd Bailey