Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Name on the dotted line, Hasek’s ready to defend the goal line

After a couple of weeks of uncertainty the Ottawa Senators have finally secured their goaltender position. The long rumored signing of Dominik Hasek took place at 10 am Ottawa time today, as the Senators introduced their latest goaltender to the assembled media.

Hasek signed for 2 million a season with an option for 3 million dollars in the next year, but it’s the bonuses that will give Hasek the chance to prove his worth the perennially underachieving Playoff senators. Should Ottawa make it to the Stanley Cup final and carry Lord Stanley’s drinking mug down Bank street in the parade, Dom will be going to the bank 4 million dollars richer. His incentive laden contract represents a major investment by the Senators, who struggled in the playoffs for the final time. With Patrick Lalime dealt off to St. Louis, the weight of the Capital’s playoff aspirations fall to the 39 year old Czech.

Jason Spezza handed over his number 39 sweater to the newest Senator shifting his potential goal scoring onto uniform number 19, last worn by Peter Schastlivy, and made infamous by the much despised and debated Alexei Yashin. Perhaps young Sens fans will once again be able to don the Red, white and black number 19 sweater with pride should Spezza turn out to be the player many feel he will be.

But today was all about the Dominator, who faced the Ottawa media with less of the bad boy attitude that we’ve seen in Detroit and Buffalo in years past. The main point of interest was Hasek’s groin, which was in such bad shape this past season that he only played in 14 games before calling it a season and taking his leave from the Motor City. Hasek and GM John Muckler both stated that they had no concerns about the goaltenders health and were convinced that he would regain his all star and Stanley Cup winning form. Hasek himself, dedicated his off season to getting back into prime shape to lead the Sens to the promised land!

His team mates are looking forward to seeing if the Dominator of today will be the Dominator of old. Should he be able to recapture that spectacular style of play that made him a favourite in Buffalo and for a short period in Detroit, then Ottawa fans will have something to look forward to in the next season. Should things not turn out so golden, the risk takers in the offices will find a public less than impressed with the crap shoot that a by then 40 year old goaltender might represent.

Win and everyone’s a Rhodes Scholar. Lose and it will be like taking your report card full of F’s home to Mom and Dad. An awful lot is riding on Dom and his wonky knee; time will come to tell if the Sens made the right choice in their spending spree!

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