"Last 60 minutes is the worst hockey I've played in my life. I have nothing to say about it. It's terrible. I feel very bad about myself."
That was what Dominik Hasek had to say to the Detroit Free Press after Wednesday's loss to Nashville in Game 4. They are the words of a defeated man. Hasek has likely seen his last action of the season thanks to two straight losses and seven goals allowed on 29 shots in the pair of defeats. Coach Mike Babcock has no choice but to go to Chris Osgood the rest of the way. The Red Wings are reeling and on the verge of being embarrassed by a team that practically had a fire-sale in the off-season.
At 43 years old, Hasek will an unrestricted free agent come July 1 and there probably won't be many waiting in line for his services. He's been bothered by nagging injuries the last few seasons and a wonky groin knocked him out of the lineup for a time this season. With Chris Osgood signed for a few more seasons and Jimmy Howard waiting in the wings (a restricted free agent this summer), there looks to be no room for the six-time Vezina Trophy winner.
Taking age and injuries out of the equation, there's no denying that the "Dominator" can still bring it. Just a year ago he posted 38 wins, with a 2.05 goals-against average in 56 starts. It wouldn't a shock to see a team take a flier on Hasek, for maybe a one-year, incentive-laden deal. A back-up role could suit him well and keep him less susceptible to injury. Someone like a Tampa Bay, Florida, or even *gasp* Buffalo might do well throwing the future Hall of Famer between the pipes 15-20 times a season.
If this indeed is the end or not, Dominik Hasek has given hockey fans some wonderful memories. Whether it's attacking Buffalo News reporter Jim Kelley for questioning his toughness, his unreal performance at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics en route to a gold medal, or the highlight reel saves he's made over his career, Hasek has cemented himself as one of the top goalies of all time.
Sean Leahy is the editor of Going Five Hole and a contributor to Y! Sports hockey blog.