Ageless Dominik Hasek signs with Spartak Moscow of KHL

Hasek.jpgClearly Dominik Hasek wasn’t content with just being part of a Stanley Cup winning team in 2008. Nor was he content with winning a Czech league title this year. If you’re a legendary goaltender, even a 45 year-old one, you want to just keep playing and that’s precisely what Hasek is going to do next season.

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.

If you’re looking for a great look at what motivates a man like Hasek, I’ll just send you to Dmitry Chesnokov over at Yahoo’s Puck Daddy and ask that you read the whole interview. For me, Hasek is perhaps the most interesting player to come out of the 1990s/2000s NHL.

While Martin Brodeur put up the crazy numbers with the Devils in their militant defensive system, Hasek worked his brains out with the Blackhawks, Sabres, Red Wings (two times over) and Senators. While you may not remember him with the Blackhawks and Senators, his years in Buffalo were where he became a legend and Detroit is where he won his two Stanley Cups (in 2002 and 2008). Add a 1998 Olympic gold medal to that resume and you’ve got a guy that goes down in the annals of history as one of the greatest goaltenders we’ve ever seen.

While Buffalo fans will snarl their teeth at any mention of Hasek (I guess that Slava Kozlov for Hasek deal didn’t work out so hot) he is the goalie that brought the Sabres to their last Stanley Cup final in 1999. I guess being thought of as being better than Martin Brodeur or Patrick Roy will only satisfy some fans so much.

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    Kuznetsov, bad breaks baffle Flyers in loss to Capitals

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 22: Evgeny Kuznetsov #92 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his first period goal against Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center on February 22, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    Here’s what went right for the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday: the Florida Panthers lost. Yep, that’s about it.

    Otherwise, it was a pretty lousy time, as the Washington Capitals beat them at home 4-1 tonight.

    Washington’s big names came to play here, highlighted by Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring two goals. T.J. Oshie and Nicklas Backstrom enjoyed one-goal, one-assist nights while Justin Williams and Alex Ovechkin both grabbed two assists.

    The Capitals won their first game after a bye week (following two losses), improving their Metropolitan Division lead to five points and Presidents’ Trophy edge over Minnesota to three.

    The Flyers fail to make up some ground in the Eastern Conference wild card race, staying at 63 standings points in 60 games played. The Panthers are tied with the Islanders and Bruins at 66 points, though Boston can change the picture ever so slightly against Anaheim (still in action) tonight.

    The bottom line, again, is that the Flyers failed in a chance to get a little closer to that logjam for the last East spot.

    Of course, plenty of Flyers fans will grumble about missed opportunities and iffy calls. Mike Milbury broke down the early setbacks that made life that much tougher for Philly:

    Philly couldn’t overcome the Capitals and that bad luck, making their playoff hopes a little dimmer as the trade deadline approaches.

    Oilers win on rare Russell goal, Panthers fall out of second wild card spot

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    The Edmonton Oilers’ 4-3 win against the Florida Panthers might end up being costly if Andrej Sekera misses significant time.

    But, hey, at least it was a win.

    The two rising squads engaged in a back-and-forth game, with the Oilers winning in regulation. Maybe fittingly with Edmonton leaking defensemen lately: Kris Russell was the guy to score the game-winner, set up by Connor McDavid‘s blazing speed and a nice pass by Leon Draisaitl.

    It was Russell’s first goal in more than a year.

    The Oilers will remain in the second spot in the Pacific at the end of the night whether the Anaheim Ducks beat the Boston Bruins or not. Interestingly, this puts them in a reasonable position to catch the Sharks for first place in the division, too.

    1. Sharks – 77 points in 60 games
    2. Oilers – 74 points in 61 games
    3. Ducks – 72 points in 61 games (in progress vs. Boston)

    The Oilers likely had some fans out East tonight, as this loss pushes Florida down the wild card rankings. They’re actually out of the second spot thanks to tiebreakers.

    Second wild card spot: Bruins – 66 points in 59 games, 30 wins and 28 ROW (in progress)

    Islanders – 66 points in 59 games, 28 wins and 27 ROW
    Panthers – 66 points in 59 games, 28 wins and 25 ROW

    The Isles would move into the second spot if Boston loses in regulation, underscoring just how congested this situation is. But either way, the Panthers won’t be in the East’s top eight at the end of the night.

    With Gibson out, Ducks recall interesting goalie: Enroth

    TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 11: Jhonas Enroth #35 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Air Canada Centre on November 11, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. The Maple Leafs defeated the Flyers 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    One player’s injury is another player’s opportunity.

    Considering how much the Anaheim Ducks lean on John Gibson, it’s troubling that he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

    Even so, it’s interesting to note that such a situation prompted the team to recall Jhonas Enroth, who will back up Jonathan Bernier during Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

    With the way Bernier’s been playing at times, it’s not impossible that Enroth could play as soon as tonight. But if he doesn’t you have to wonder if the Ducks might feel compelled to throw a start his way in the next week.

    The trade deadline is coming, and while the goalie market is really cold, some of that slow movement likely comes from how cap-unfriendly netminders like Ben Bishop might be.

    But what about Enroth? His cap hit is $750K this season, and while he thoroughly unimpressed Mike Babcock with rapid speed in Toronto, he was fantastic as a backup in Los Angeles last season and has been outstanding lately for the AHL’s San Diego Gulls.

    All things considered, it’s almost a little surprising the Ducks aren’t throwing him right into the deep end tonight. If you’re a team with poor backup goaltending like the Edmonton Oilers or any number of other teams,* why wouldn’t you give the Ducks a call?

    Maybe they need to see him in action in the NHL before doing so, making this an intriguing scenario to follow.

    And, hey, maybe the Ducks themselves might decide that he’s a better option behind Gibson than Bernier. Stranger things have happened.

    * – The Leafs might qualify, honestly … but again, Babs doesn’t seem to be an Enroth fan.

    Another defenseman down: Niskanen won’t return for Caps tonight (Video)

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    Uh oh.

    There are only three games on the docket for Wednesday, but injuries are a factor in all of them. The Washington Capitals must now worry about underrated defenseman Matt Niskanen after he left tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers with a lower-body injury.

    Niskanen took a shift to end the second period, only not to return, much like Andrej Sekera did in tonight’s Edmonton Oilers game.

    The Capitals blueliner got hurt after falling awkwardly following a collision with Radko Gudas, as you can see from the video above.