Monday, June 9, 2008

Děkuji, Dominik

As expected, Hasek called it quits Monday. As I talked about earlier, this paves the way for Jimmy Howard, and Kenny Holland sure makes it sound like that's what he's thinking. HockeyTown Todd has a pretty reasonable solution if the Wings decided to go for a one-year stopgap, though. Oh, or how about Curtis Joseph!?

And this guy has his own fashion line?

Drew Sharp suggests Dom's number be retired. It's not a... crazy thought - Hasek is undoubtedly a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and was a Stanley Cup champ for this team. He had a falling out with Buffalo, where he did most of his best work - six Vezinas and two (consecutive) Harts - so his number will not likely hang there. His stays with Chicago and Ottawa were far too brief and inglorious to merit anything from either of them. And it would be just all too sad if the iconic 39 didn't hang somewhere.

Ah, we got used to this kind of shit. Almost.

But this is Detroit. We have enough tradition and mystique for three or four teams (nine or ten Colorado Avalanches) and retired numbers aren't cheap. Just ask Larry Aurie, Red Kelly or Norm Ullman. Marcel Dionne played four seasons for the Wings, same as Hasek (way more games than Dom), and is one of the greatest ever at his position, too. He set the rookie record for point with the Wings, but his number isn't anywhere close to the rafters. And such current greats as Sergei Fedorov, Brendan Shanahan, and Chris Chelios are unlikely to have their numbers retired as well. Nick Lidstrom is likely the only player of this generation to already have that honor secured. Having been the starter for just one championship, I don't think that cuts it. Ask Mike Vernon.

But I will always look back on Dom fondly, for all his... quirks. He was exciting, and pretty damn good when healthy. He won two cups and that's more than can be said for a lot of folks. He inspired and excited us. And you have to wonder, will any goaltender ever do this again?

Thanks, Dom.