Having won virtually every award in the game, Dominik Hasek appears ready for a new challenge as the 45-year old netminder signed a one-year deal with Spartak Moscow of the KHL.
The two-time Stanley Cup champion, six time Vezina trophy winner and Olympic gold medalist came out of retirement last year to play for his hometown team, Pardubice in the Czech league. He posted a .921 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average while leading Pardubice to their first title in 16 seasons.
Hasek discussed his decision with Yahoo!'s Dmitry Chesnokov.
"It's not about trophies," Hasek told Chesnokov. "It doesn't matter which trophies I won in the past. It doesn't matter to me. I love hockey. I love this game. And for me to play for a new team in a new league is a great opportunity and a great challenge. I am very excited about it. The love for hockey is what is driving me."
Hasek also addressed the recent influx of European born and trained goaltenders who are currently enjoying a great deal of success as the NHL level. A trend that he had a big part towards creating.
"I don't want to say that I made the revolution, but I would say I changed the minds of many general managers that European goalies can be reliable, can help NHL teams, and be among the top-top goalies in the league," Hasek told Chesnokov.
In terms of hanging up the skates for good, Hasek was vague, stating that he will play as long as he feels as though he can contribute.
"In the last five years I have been playing I always signed one-year deals," Hasek told Chesnokov. "And after this season I will see how I feel, what I can do. But it also depends on the organization and what they think about me. I just take it year by year."
Although he has not completely ruled out a return to the NHL, it appears as though it will not happen this season, even if a former teammate with the Red Wings who was recently hired in Tampa Bay gave him a call.
"Not now," said Hasek of the possibility of joining Steve Yzerman and the Lightning. "Maybe in the future. The weather is always nice over there. At least I would think about it. But it just won't happen this year."
Should Hasek return next season he would be 46 years old he would surpass Moe Roberts' record for the oldest goaltender to ever play a game in the NHL. Considering Hall of Famers Johnny Bower, Lester Patrick and Jacques Plante all played their final playoff game at the age of 44 it would not be a stretch to assume that the 'Dominator' could successfully follow in their footsteps.