On Friday, the hockey world collectively LOLed at 47-year-old Dominik Hasek’s interest in an NHL comeback. Hasek hasn’t played in the league since 2008 and didn’t play (like, at all) last season, so initial reactions to this news were skeptical at best.
A few days later? Yeah, not so skeptical.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen asked three individuals — Devils backup Johan Hedberg, NHL on NBC analyst Darren Pang and Detroit goalie coach Jim Bedard — and they all said the same thing:
When it comes to Hasek, never say never.
“With Dominik Hasek, you can’t count anything out,” Hedberg said. “He didn’t play last year, but he had [seven] shutouts in the KHL when he was 45.”
Hedberg’s a good guy to ask about this sort of thing. At 39, he’s the fourth-oldest goalie in the league — and he backs up the second-oldest, 40-year-old Martin Brodeur.
Pang, meanwhile, felt it would be “impossible” for a 47-year-old to become a No. 1 in the NHL, but said a backup gig was within the realm of possibility.
Bedard re-iterated what Hedberg said — you can’t count Hasek out — noting that the Dominator is “as determined of an individual as I’ve ever met.”
Bedard also knows a thing or two about older goalies. In his 15 years with the Wings, he’s coached the likes of Hasek (43 at the time), Chris Osgood (38), Curtis Joseph (36) and Ken Wregget (35).