Dominik Hasek really wants to play hockey. The NHL apparently has no interest in the goaltender even if its lockout does end. So, once again, the Buffalo Sabres’ legend has hung up his pads.
The eclectic 47-year-old announced his third — and presumably final — retirement Tuesday in the Czech Republic. Hasek hasn’t played in the NHL since 2008, but he and his agent approached several teams, including the Sabres, to set up a comeback.
Eventually, they all turned down the future Hockey Hall of Famer.
“There were training camps starting in the AHL, and I wanted to participate,” Hasek told reporters in the Czech Republic. “I needed to play preseason games, to be part of the hockey environment [in North America]. I was in touch with one NHL club and I had pretty good feelings about it, but then they called my agent and told him there was no interest from their side.
“I understand their reasons. I am 47 and I haven’t played hockey for the entire season. But that’s why I told the GMs, ‘Give me a chance to play in the AHL for one month. You could watch me there, and if you see I still have it you can take me up to NHL. And if not, you can kick me wherever you want.’”
Hasek temporarily retired twice before, both times as a Stanley Cup champion. He led Detroit to the Cup in 2002, then served as a backup during the Red Wings’ title run in 2008. He spent one year on the sidelines each time.
Hasek last played for Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2010-11. He rose to international stardom while playing for the Sabres from 1992 to 2001, a run that included two Hart Trophies as league MVP. He led the Czechs to the gold medal at the 1998 Olympics.
“I have to go on and find new motivation,” he said in his homeland. “I would like to do something creative, something completely new. The only thing I know is that it won’t be in hockey. Coaching or working as a manager is not the thing I would like to do.”
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are scheduled to resume negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement today in New York. Once again, core economic issues are not on the agenda as the lockout enters its 25th day.
Union counsel Steve Fehr, the brother of NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr, says the league is avoiding financial talks.
“For more than a month, the owners have not wanted to meet to discuss the core economic issues unless it is on their terms — that is, unless the players have yet another offer that includes significant concessions for them,” Steve Fehr told the Los Angeles Times. “By contrast, we place no conditions on our willingness to meet.”
The talks are expected to include secondary CBA items such as housing, medical care and drug testing.
“We would be happy to listen to the PA on economic or system issues, but they don’t appear to be inclined to bring anything new to the table,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the Times. “As long as that’s the case, I’m not sure we have more to add.”
The Rochester Americans are set to open the AHL season at home Friday, and they will do so with newcomer Kevin Porter as their captain. Coach Ron Rolston made the announcement Tuesday.
The Sabres’ signed Porter to a two-year contract in July. The center spent the previous three seasons with the Colorado Avalanche. He has played 163 NHL games.
Rolston has named right wing Mark Mancari and defenseman T.J. Brennan as the Amerks’ alternate captains.
“I’m going to help teach,” said the 27-year-old Mancari. “I’ve been around. I’ve seen guys go up and down like yo-yos. Attitudes change and maturity level changes. I’m going to do what I can to help them and help the team.”