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I was extremely curious to see what Dominik Hasek was going to say during his appearance last night on Off The Record. Hasek is one of the few interviews I'll pay attention to, because although he chooses his words carefully, you occasionally don't get the prototypical hockey response.

Needless to say, it was an interesting few minutes. We all knew that Hasek wished to stay in Ottawa next year (he's a UFA), but the answers he provided made his feelings crystal clear. He expressed no interest in playing for anyone else -- that he "only wants to play for the Senators", and didn't want to leave under the current circumstances. He also told Landsberg that he was upset because he "hasn't finished his job here yet".

I don't care if you're a Senators fan, a Hasek critic...a statement like that in today's league will stick with you.

When's the last time you heard anyone, anywhere say that they only wished to play for Ottawa? When have you heard a player for the Sens say, "the job's not done here yet"? I don't remember hearing Wade Redden or Zdeno Chara drop such bold statements. And yes, I know it's about money. And Redden and Chara are in positions of power with the ability to command millions of dollars from several teams of their choosing right now. That's not what this is about. It's about expressing a commitment to this franchise right now -- and recognizing unfinished business. I love that. I'm not saying anyone else from Ottawa doesn't feel that way. Maybe they do. But I don't remember ever hearing it expressed so blatantly. And during this depressing period when fan morale is bottoming out (yet again), it's extremely refreshing to experience.

Let me just say this right now: I like Hasek a lot. He's hilarious, he served his purpose (and then some) up until he was injured, and from a work standpoint, he makes for great copy. I'm well aware of his age -- the risks the Sens took when they signed him, and the bigger ones that would await if they resigned him.

I don't think it's possible for the team to keep him, based on risk and recent reaction from Murray (who said it was time to move on). But if he wants to come back, obviously the team's in a position of control. But perhaps even to offer the league minimum, and have him share the duties with Emery would be too much of a stretch. It would be a better situation than he had in Detroit -- Emery isn't as much of a threat as CuJo was -- but Hasek might not be able to swallow his pride.

There was one other interesting comment that Hasek made during the interview. Landsberg asked if Dom was subjected to any pressure from the team to return, specifically during the Buffalo series. Hasek initially said no, but mentioned "Alfie and the assistant captains" coming to him before Game 4. He didn't reference what they said verbatim, but claimed that he told him he couldn't help them.

If this is true, you could classify this as another example of the team lacking the inner fortitude to look to themselves for confidence.

If you're down 3-0, do you go running to your injured No. 1 goaltender, looking for a hero to save you from yourselves? And if he plays and you lose, does he automatically become the scapegoat?

Very interesting.

This is a difficult situation for both parties -- there's extreme risk involved for the team to remain involved with this player. But how often do you hear of anyone wanting to finish a job, and finish it with Ottawa of all teams? How do you handle that?

P.S. Check out the interesting reaction to the interview on the HF Boards.

3 responses to "Hasek: It's Ottawa or nothing"

  1. Has anyone seen the remake of the Poseidon Adventure? The new film portrays many of the originals same characters and sticks pretty much to the expected plotline. Although the new version has better special effects, the storyline still has the ship going down. Hasek in a paddleboat, anyone?

    reality check

  2. Let me jump the gun before it's even posted on here, but Erin, when your pieces are as good the one dated May 21, you are absolutely the best and most righteous columnist the Ottawa Sun has to offer. Articles such as this deserve and demand more space for you. Keep up the excellent work! I've nothing else to add except that one Red Fisher would be proud of you!

    reality check

  3. That's very kind of you, RC. My Sundays are always better when I hear that someone appreciates the column.

    The Universal Cynic