Niagara Gazette — TORONTO — Dominik Hasek was still playing hockey a few years ago at age 46.
He put on his goalie pads for the final time Feb. 27, 2011, in Russia’s KHL.
At the age of 49, “the Dominator” is expected to be part of the class of 2014 at the Hockey Hall of Fame, which will be announced Monday.
“For me it’s a no-brainer,” former Buffalo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said earlier this year.
Hasek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, won one Stanley Cup as a starter with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002, then split time with Chris Osgood and became the backup in the playoffs for the 2008 title. He came close to the Cup in 1999 with Buffalo, only to be beaten by the Dallas Stars on Brett Hull’s overtime goal.
Hasek’s best years came with the Sabres, when he had seven straight seasons with a save percentage of .930 or higher. He finished with 234 regular-season victories.
Veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun “knew all along” Hasek would be great from watching him play in their native Czech Republic.
“It took him a little bit just because of his style and all that to convince people here,” Vokoun said in a phone interview with the Canadian Press.
“I definitely consider him, if he’s not the best, one of the top three to ever play. ... He definitely deserves to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Swedish center Peter Forsberg could also get the call to the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. American-born center Mike Modano leads the other new candidates and is the most likely to be inducted, ahead of three-time Cup-winner Mark Recchi.
Forsberg, who began his career with the Quebec Nordiques following the blockbuster Eric Lindros trade with the Philadelphia Flyers, went on to win two Cups with the Colorado Avalanche. He finished with 885 points in 708 regular-season games as his career was cut short by foot injuries.