|Hasek's stellar play has Red Wings goalie being called The Dominator again|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 10 May 2007 02:58|
The 42-year-old Detroit Red Wings goaltender constantly jabbers at teammates to get out of his sightlines, to chase a puck into a corner, or to move an opponent away from his crease.
```Must see!' I hear that a lot,'' defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said.
Detroit opens the Western Conference final against the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Friday, and Hasek is a big reason why the Red Wings made it this far.
He's The Dominator again, just like he was the last time Detroit won the Stanley Cup, in 2002.
Last year, Hasek was more a bystander with the Ottawa Senators after injuring a groin at the Olympics.
When Ken Holland brought Hasek back in the offseason, many wondered if the Red Wings GM had made a mistake.
``The difference is that he's been healthy,'' teammate Chris Chelios said. ``He got hurt last year. He's not hurt this year. He's a great goaltender.''
Near the start of the season, Hasek agreed to come back to the Red Wings in a $750,000, one-year deal - quite a bargain.
``I accepted the offer because of the time of the year and because the previous year I got injured,'' he said. ``We agreed on the small contract with bonuses. I am not angry at all.''
Especially since he's receiving bonuses for each playoff round won by the Red Wings. He'll pocket an extra $1.1 million in total if they win the Stanley Cup.
The Czech goalie still gets angry and scolds himself when he screws up.
``You have to find whatever motivates you, so if you let in a bad goal and get angry and you feel that gets you into the game more, then you do it,'' Hasek said after practice Wednesday. ``I try to do whatever motivates me the best.
``Sometimes I talk to myself,'' he said. ``I just say a few words. I might say to myself, `Get ready.' `Watch the puck.' `Be ready all the time, that's what you're here for.' Sometimes I look at the fans and smile.''
Lidstrom wants him to keep talking.
``When he's talking a lot, he's on top of his game, and he's been doing that throughout these playoffs,'' the Red Wings captain said.
Lidstrom lunged to stop a shot for him when he was out of position during the last game of the previous series. Hasek was then overheard muttering to himself.
``Anytime he has a bad game or lets in a bad goal, he gets mad at himself and he wants to respond with a better effort,'' Lidstrom said. ``He's been stepping up unbelievable here in the last couple of games.
``He's such a competitive guy, you don't have to do a lot to get him going. Just try to score on him in practice, that'll make him mad. His competitive nature really comes out when he lets a bad goal in.''
Holland said he's leaning toward re-signing both Hasek and the 45-year-old Chelios.
``We're in the final four,'' he said. ``We're not concerned with a player's age. We're only concerned about how the player performs.''
Hasek said the Red Wings' strong defensive play - emphasized by coach Mike Babcock - has made his a strong club.
``This team had problems in the first round the last few years so we are highly motivated, and we work hard for 60 minutes,'' Hasek said. ``We were down sometimes against the Sharks and we never gave up.''
Hasek has a career 1.97 goals-against average in playoffs, which is second-best among those with 100 or more appearances. New Jersey's Marty Brodeur is first with a 1.93 GAA. Third is Turk Broda (1.98), followed by Jacques Plante and Ed Belfour (2.17).