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Mario Lemieux From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Mario Lemieux Born October 5, 1965 (age 47) Montreal, QC, CAN Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Weight 235 lb (107 kg; 16 st 11 lb) Position Centre Shot Right Played for Pittsburgh Penguins National team Canada NHL Draft 1st overall, 1984 Pittsburgh Penguins Playing career 1984–1997 2000–2006 Hall of Fame, 1997 Mario Lemieux, OC, CQ (/ˈmærioʊ ləˈmjuː/; French pronunciation: [maʁjo ləmjø]; born October 5, 1965) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and co-owner of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Pittsburgh Penguins and the American Hockey League's (AHL) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He is widely acknowledged to be one of the best players of all time.[1] He played 17 seasons as a forward for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL between 1984 and 2006. A gifted playmaker and fast skater despite his large size, Lemieux often beat defensemen with fakes and dekes.[2] He is currently the Penguins' principal owner and chairman of the board, having bought the team out of bankruptcy in 1999. He is the only person ever to win the Stanley Cup as both a player and an owner.[3] Lemieux led Pittsburgh to two Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992, won a Stanley Cup as a chairman in 2009 with the Penguins, led Canada to an Olympic gold medal in 2002, a championship at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, and a Canada Cup in 1987. He won three Hart Trophies as the NHL's most valuable player (MVP) during the regular season, six Art Ross Trophies as the league's leading scorer, and two Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP. At the time of his retirement, he was the NHL's seventh-ranked all-time scorer with 690 goals and 1,033 assists.[4] He ranks second in NHL history with a 0.754 goals-per game average for his career, behind only Islanders great Mike Bossy (0.762).[5] In 2004, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. Playing only 915 out of a potential 1428 regular season NHL games, Lemieux's career was plagued by health problems. His numerous ailments included spinal disc herniation, Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic tendinitis of a hip-flexor muscle, and chronic back pain so severe that other people had to tie his skates.[6] He retired two different times over the course of his career due to these health issues (and also missed an entire season because of it prior to his first retirement): first in 1997 after battling lymphoma (he returned in 2000), and for a second and final time in 2006, after being diagnosed with an atrial fibrillation.[4] Despite his lengthy absences from the game, his play remained at a high level upon his return to the ice; he won the Hart Trophy and scoring title in 1995–96 after sitting out the entire previous season, and he was a finalist for the Hart when he made his comeback in 2000.[2] The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Lemieux immediately after his first retirement in 1997, waiving the normal three-year waiting period; upon his return in 2000, he became the third Hall of Famer (after Gordie Howe and Guy Lafleur) to play after being inducted.[2] Lemieux's impact on the NHL has been significant: Andrew Conte of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review called him the "savior" of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and after Lemieux's retirement, Wayne Gretzky commented that "You don't replace players like Mario Lemieux [...] The game will miss him."[7] Bobby Orr called him "the most talented player I've ever seen." Orr, along with Bryan Trottier and numerous fans,[4] speculate that if Lemieux had not suffered so many issues with his health, his on-ice achievements would have been much greater.[7] Early years Lemieux was born in Montreal to Pierrette, a stay-at-home mom, and Jean-Guy Lemieux, an engineer. He and his older brothers Alain and Richard grew up in a working class family in the Ville-Émard district. Mario began practicing hockey at age 3 in his basement; before using real equipment, he and his brothers used wooden kitchen spoons as hockey sticks and bottle caps as pucks.[8] His father created a rink on the front lawn so that the boys could practice as much as possible,[9] and according to family legend, the family sometimes packed snow onto the living room carpet so the brothers could practice indoors when it was dark.[10] Lemieux playing for the Laval Voisins of the QMJHL in 1984 Lemieux started his career with the Laval Voisins of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). When he was drafted at age 15, he declared that he would break league records;[10] in the 1983–84 QMJHL season, Lemieux broke the league record for points in a season with 282 (133 goals, 149 assists) in 70 games.[11] In his last game of the regular season, Lemieux needed three goals to tie Guy Lafleur's record of 130 goals— he scored six goals and added six assists in a 16-4 victory.[2] Although he played in the 1983 World Junior Hockey Championships, Lemieux did not play for the Canadian Juniors in 1984 because he disliked how coach Dave King treated him in the previous tournament.[12] He also did not want to break up his junior season.[8] He finished his QMJHL career with 562 points (247 goals, 315 assists) in three seasons. Before the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Lemieux announced he wanted to play for whomever drafted him.[8] He and his agent were deadlocked with the Penguins and could not negotiate a contract. Because of this, when the Penguins called his name as the first overall draft pick, he did not shake general manager Eddie Johnston's hand or don the Penguins jersey, as is NHL tradition. He claimed he was upset about the contract negotiation, and said that "Pittsburgh doesn't want [him] bad enough."[8] Even though the draft was held in Montreal, over 3,000 fans viewed a broadcast in Pittsburgh's Civic Arena—a typical Penguins game drew less than 7,000 fans at the time.[8] After the draft, Johnston signed Lemieux to a two-year contract for $600,000, plus a $150,000 bonus for signing.[8] Playing career At the start of Lemieux's career, the Penguins were in financial turmoil and there were rumours of relocation. The team had declared bankruptcy after the 1974–75 season, and by 1983, they were averaging fewer than 7,000 fans per game—less than half of the Civic Arena's capacity.[8] He debuted on October 11, 1984, against the Boston Bruins and on his first shift, he stole the puck from Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque and scored a goal with his first NHL shot against Pete Peeters.[13] Later that season, Lemieux played in the NHL All-Star Game and became the first rookie to be named the All-Star Game's Most Valuable Player. Despite missing seven games during the season, Lemieux scored 100 points and won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the rookie of the year. The next season, Lemieux finished second in league scoring with 141 points, behind Wayne Gretzky's NHL-record 215 points. He won the Lester B. Pearson Award as the NHL's best regular-season player as voted by his peers. Lemieux missed 17 games of the 1986–87 NHL season—his point production slipped, and the Penguins once again failed to make the playoffs. However, he played in the Canada Cup during the summer of 1987 and set a tournament record 11 goals in 9 games; his last goal, which clinched the Canadian victory, broke a tie with the Soviet team with 1:26 remaining in the third period. Lemieux cited his Canada Cup experience as the reason for his elevated play later on, stating, "Remember, I was only 21 years old at the time. To be around guys like Wayne [Gretzky] and Mark Messier and Paul Coffey [...] was a tremendous learning experience."[14] By the 1987–88 season, Wayne Gretzky had won seven consecutive Art Ross Trophies for leading the league in points. That season, fueled by his Canada Cup experience,[14] Lemieux scored 168 points and won his first NHL scoring title. He also won his first Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player to his team, and the All-Star Game MVP award after a record-setting six-point game. Despite Lemieux's success, the Penguins did not qualify for the playoffs. 1988–1992: 199 points In the 1988–89 season, Lemieux led the league with 114 assists (tied with Gretzky) and 85 goals for 199 points; he is the only player to approach Gretzky's mammoth 200+ point seasons.[15] Lemieux finished the season a close second to Gretzky in voting for the Hart Trophy, and set several milestones and records in the process, becoming the second player to score 70+ goals in two seasons, the fourth player to score 50 goals in 50 games, and the only player to score 13 shorthanded goals in one season.[16] Perhaps the defining moment of Lemieux's season was on December 31, 1988, in a game against the New Jersey Devils.[15] In that game, Lemieux scored eight points and became the only player in NHL history to score a goal in all five possible game situations in the same game: even-strength, power-play, shorthanded, penalty shot, and empty-net. Lemieux had another five-goal, eight-point performance in a 10-7 victory during the postseason against the Philadelphia Flyers on April 25, 1989. He tied the NHL record for most goals and points in a postseason game, most goals in a postseason period (four in the first), and most assists in a postseason period (three in the second).[17] However, the Penguins lost the series 4–3. During the 1989–90 NHL season, Lemieux scored at least one point in 46 consecutive games before he ended the streak by leaving a game due to injury.[18] The streak's length was second only to Gretzky's 51-game streak.[19] Lemieux won his third All-Star Game MVP with a four-goal performance.[20] Although he missed 21 games, he finished fourth in the league in scoring with 123 points (45 goals, 78 assists).[16] The Penguins did not qualify for the playoffs. Lemieux's back injury progressed into a herniated disc, which subsequently developed an infection. On July 11, 1990, Lemieux underwent back surgery to fix the disk, and he missed 50 games in the 1990–91 NHL season. In his absence, the Penguins acquired players Joe Mullen, Larry Murphy, Ron Francis, and Ulf Samuelsson in hopes of becoming serious contenders for the Stanley Cup. Despite significant back pain, Lemieux scored 16 goals and 28 assists for the playoff lead, and led the Penguins over the Minnesota North Stars for their first Stanley Cup.[16] Lemieux won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player. His 44 playoff points rank second only to Wayne Gretzky's 47 in 1984–85. One of the most famous goals in NHL history is the goal Lemieux scored in the 2nd period of game two. Receiving the puck between the Penguins blue line and the centre line, Lemieux skated solo into the North Stars zone facing two defencemen and the goalie by himself. Mario skirted the puck through one of the defenders' (Shawn Chambers) legs, skated around him, forced the goalie to commit left, then switched the puck to his backand side and sliding the puck in before crashing into the net himself. The brief video of the goal has been since featured on recent Stanley Cup promo ads by the NHL (played in reverse), as well as the opening montage of Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.[citation needed] Lemieux played only 64 games in his injury-plagued 1991–92 season. Despite missing several games, he won his third Art Ross Trophy with 131 points. During the second game of the Patrick Division finals, the New York Rangers' Adam Graves slashed and broke Lemieux's left hand; Lemieux missed five games, but still led the playoffs with 16 goals and 18 assists.[16] The Penguins swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, and Lemieux won his second Conn Smythe Trophy. 1992–1997: Cancer, return, and retirement The Penguins started the 1992–93 season well, and Lemieux set a franchise record with at least one goal in twelve consecutive games, from October 6 to November 1.[21] He was on pace to challenge Gretzky's records of 92 goals in one season (1981–82) and 215 points in one season (1985–86),[22] until January 12, 1993, when he made the shocking announcement that he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was forced to undergo energy-draining aggressive radiation treatments, leaving his career and possibly his survival in doubt. He missed two months of play, and without him, the Penguins struggled. When he returned, he was 12 points behind Buffalo's Pat LaFontaine in the scoring race.[22] "Notwithstanding Gretzky's abiding majesty, posterity will never forget that no athlete—not even the sainted Lou Gehrig—has ever before Lemieux been struck down by a deadly disease at the very moment when he was the best of his sport at the best he ever would be. And since: Lemieux has achieved miraculously in remission, struggling, on the side, with a back injury so grievous that it has benched him after he merely laced up a skate. That is the stuff that answers people these days when they wonder where all our sports heroes have gone." —Frank Deford, Newsweek[23] On the day of his last radiation treatment, Lemieux flew to Philadelphia to play against the Flyers, where he scored a goal and an assist in a 5-4 loss. Before the game Lemieux earned a standing ovation from Philadelphia fans—a rare occurrence for a visiting player.[22] With Lemieux back, Pittsburgh won an NHL record 17 consecutive games to finish first overall for the first time in franchise history;[22] their 119 points are still a franchise record. Lemieux scored at an incredible pace, notching an average 2.67 points per game—the third highest points-per-game for a season, behind only Wayne Gretzky's 1983–84 and 1985–86 averages of 2.77 and 2.69, respectively.[22] Lemieux won his second straight and fourth overall scoring title, finishing with 160 points (69 goals, 91 assists) in 60 games, beating out LaFontaine by 12 points.[16] The Penguins dispatched the New Jersey Devils in the first round in five games, but were upset by the New York Islanders in seven. During the series against the Islanders, Lemieux was repeatedly knocked out of his game by Darius Kasparaitis. After the season, Lemieux was awarded his second Pearson Trophy, and his first Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.[16] On July 23, 1993, Lemieux underwent his second back surgery, this time to repair a herniated muscle. He missed the first ten games of the season to recover from surgery, and missed 48 more games from back problems.[16] After the season, he announced that he would take a leave of absence because of fatigue brought on by his radiation treatment.[16] Lemieux returned for the 1995–96 season, and on October 26, 1995, he scored his 500th career goal in his 605th game, played against the New York Islanders. Lemieux was second only to Gretzky, who scored 500 goals in 575 games.[16] Lemieux finished the season with 69 goals and 92 assists to lead the league; he became the seventh player to win three Hart Trophies, and the fourth player to win five Art Ross Trophies.[16] Despite his return, the Penguins fell to the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final in seven games. Lemieux's exhibit in the Hockey Hall of Fame The next season, Lemieux, playing against the Vancouver Canucks, scored his 600th career goal in his 719th game, and went on to put up his tenth career 100-point season, both the second-most in history after Wayne Gretzky's 600 goals in 718 games and fifteen 100-point seasons.[16] In his last game against his hometown Montreal, Lemieux tied an NHL record for most goals in a period, with four goals in the third.[24] Lemieux won his sixth scoring title with 122 points (50 goals, 72 assists). The Penguins qualified for the playoffs again, but were eliminated in five games by the Eric Lindros-led Philadelphia Flyers during the first round. Lemieux scored one goal and earned an assist in his final game, played in Philadelphia, where he skated around the ice after the final buzzer and received a standing ovation from the Philadelphia crowd.[16] Upon his first retirement, Lemieux became the only player to retire from the NHL with a greater than 2 points per game average (1494 points in 745 games). On November 17, 1997, Lemieux was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, becoming the ninth player in history to have the mandatory three-year waiting period waived. 1997–2000: Post-retirement The Penguins' free-spending ways of the early 1990s came at a high price, however. Through most of the 1990s, Penguins' owners Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg badly mismanaged the team, owing over $90 million to various creditors. As a consequence, the Penguins asked Lemieux and other prominent players to defer their salaries. The team was also forced to make several trades to stop the bleeding, most of which backfired. The situation became so dire that the Penguins were forced to declare bankruptcy in November 1998. For most of the 1998–99 NHL season, it looked like the Penguins would either move out of town or fold altogether. At this point, Lemieux stepped in with an unusual proposal. Years of deferred salaries, adding up to $30 million, had made him the Penguins' largest creditor. He sought to recover this money by converting it into equity and buying the team. He also promised to keep the team in Pittsburgh. Lemieux later said that he would have put in a bid even if he had not been owed the deferred salary. The NHL's Board of Governors approved his application for ownership on September 1, 1999.[25] Two days later, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved Lemieux's reorganization plan, allowing him to formally assume control. This made the then-retired star the first former NHL player to become majority owner of his former team. Lemieux assumed the position of chairman of the board, president, and chief executive officer of the Penguins. Lemieux's plan was designed to pay everyone the organization owed. In August 2005, the Post-Gazette reported that the Penguins had indeed fully paid the principal it owed to each of its creditors, both secured and unsecured. Lemieux was given much of the credit, according to the article, for his insistence that everyone owed be paid.[26] He has since relinquished the president's and CEO's posts to Ken Sawyer, but remains the team's principal owner and chairman. In January 2006, Lemieux confirmed the team was for sale, but would consider offers only from those who will keep the team in Pittsburgh. Out of retirement Lemieux in 2001 Late in 2000, there were rumours that Lemieux was attempting a comeback. Upon announcing his comeback, Lemieux also signed a "career spanning deal" with Nike to wear their equipment on the ice, and to endorse their products off the ice. This deal would include Mario endorsing their line of footwear and their golf equipment. It is said that the deal was worth $500,000 (US) a season and would remain in effect for the rest of his career.[27] On December 27, 2000, he returned to the NHL against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game was nationally broadcast on ESPN2 in the U.S. and on Hockey Night in Canada. Lemieux proved that his scoring touch had not disappeared by scoring a goal and three points, including an assist 33 seconds into the first shift of his return. While Jaromír Jágr remained captain of the Penguins, Lemieux was named captain of the North American All-Stars during the midseason All-Star game in Denver, Colorado. Despite playing in only 43 games in 2000–01, Lemieux scored 76 points to finish 26th in scoring, finishing the season with the highest points-per-game average that season among NHL players. In fact, he had the highest points-per-game average amongst NHL players for the entire period from his 2001 return until his final retirement in 2006. Lemieux was one of the three finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy and Lester B. Pearson NHLPA awards and earned a selection on the postseason NHL All-Star Second Team. Lemieux led the Penguins in the postseason and led in playoff scoring for much of it. His team surprised many by going to the Eastern Conference finals, knocking off the higher-seeded Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres along the way in six and seven games, respectively. The Penguins lost in five games to the top-seeded New Jersey Devils, as their players held Lemieux and Jagr without a goal that series. Lemieux finished Game Five in the penalty box after slashing the Devil's John Madden; afterwards Lemieux signed his stick and handed it to a young fan.[28] Before the start of the 2001–02 season, Pittsburgh was forced to trade most of their expensive players, so the team plummeted to the bottom of the NHL and missed the playoffs in each of these four seasons. Lemieux again resumed the captaincy, as Jaromír Jágr was sent to the Washington Capitals. However, Lemieux only appeared in 24 games, partially due to injuries that would also plague him for the next three seasons. He also skipped some Penguins games in 2001-02 so he could be in condition to play what would be his only chance at the Olympics in his career. However, Lemieux played only one more game after the Salt Lake City Olympics before being out for the rest of the season due to a nagging hip problem, leading one Pittsburgh columnist to demand that Lemieux apologize for making Team Canada his priority.[29] On December 23, 2002, during his afternoon radio show in Pittsburgh, host Mark Madden said he would donate $6,600 to the Mario Lemieux Foundation if the hockey great ever scored off a faceoff. That very night, the Penguins played the Buffalo Sabres in Pittsburgh and Lemieux, who was aware of the challenge, made good on it when he scored the game-winning goal right off a faceoff during the third period.[30] In 2002–03, at age 37, Lemieux led the National Hockey League in scoring for most of the season but missed most of the games towards the end of the schedule and finished eighth in scoring with 91 points in only 67 games. Lemieux missed all but ten games during the 2003–04 season. After the lockout concluded, Lemieux returned to the ice for the 2005–06 season. Hopes for the Penguins were high due to the salary cap and revenue sharing, which enabled the team to compete in the market for several star players. Another reason for optimism was the Penguins winning the lottery for the first draft pick, enabling them to select Sidney Crosby. Lemieux opened up his home to Crosby to help the rookie settle in Pittsburgh, and served as Crosby's mentor. [31] Player/owner status Lemieux's unique status as player and owner placed him in a potential conflict of interest with respect to NHL labor negotiations. Because he was also an owner, Lemieux was no longer a member of the National Hockey League Players Association, although he still paid union dues to maintain his pension. By agreement with the NHLPA, Lemieux was paid the average league salary of about $1.4 million and it was from this amount that his union dues were calculated and deducted. He did not vote in owners' meetings, delegating this role to a Penguins vice-president. He suggested that the NHL adopt a salary structure similar to the National Football League, which has a hard salary cap. Lemieux and fellow NHL team executive Gretzky brought the parties together in a last-ditch effort to save what remained of the 2004–05 season, but no agreement was reached and the season was lost.[citation needed] Second retirement On January 24, 2006, Lemieux announced his second and permanent retirement from professional hockey at the age of 40. This followed a half-season in which he struggled not only with the increased speed of the "new NHL" but also with yet another threatening physical ailment, a heart condition called atrial fibrillation that caused him to experience irregular heartbeats. Although he had put up points at a pace that most NHL forwards would be very content with (22 points in 26 games) in his last season, Lemieux still remarked that "I can no longer play at a level I was accustomed to in the past."[32] Lemieux during the Penguins' victory parade for the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals In October 2006, Lemieux's ownership group announced that it had reached an agreement to sell the Penguins to Research in Motion Chairman and Co-CEO Jim Balsillie. However, Balsillie unexpectedly rescinded his offer two months later after an apparent dispute with the NHL Board of Governors over purchasing conditions, despite Balsillie having earlier pledged to the Board that he would not relocate the team.[33][34] Lemieux was offended that Balsillie had pulled out at last minute and initially refused to return Balsillie's deposit, saying that it was in breach of their agreement.[35] On March 13, 2007, Lemieux's ownership group announced a final agreement for a new multi-purpose arena, eventually to be named Consol Energy Center, to be built across the street from the current Mellon Arena. The deal will keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh for at least 30 years. Lemieux was instrumental in negotiating this deal, despite outside efforts to move the team to Kansas City. It was later revealed that Lemieux had visited Kansas City only to put pressure on the city and state to push through plans for the new arena.[36] The Penguins returned to the playoffs, losing in 5 games to the Ottawa Senators in 2007, and making the Finals in 2008 where they lost in six games to the Detroit Red Wings. On June 12, 2009, Lemieux won his 3rd Stanley Cup, this time as an owner as the Penguins won a rematch with the Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals, in seven games.[37] International play Medal record Representing Canada Ice hockey World Cup Gold 2004 World Cup Olympic Games Gold 2002 Salt Lake City Canada Cup Gold 1987 Canada World Championships Silver 1985 Czechoslovakia World Junior Championships Bronze 1983 Soviet Union Lemieux played for Canada in the 1983 World Junior Championships (bronze medal), 1985 World Championships (silver medal), 1987 Canada Cup (championship), 2002 Winter Olympics (captain, gold medal) and the 2004 World Cup of Hockey (captain, championship). At the 2002 Winter Olympics, having been selected by Gretzky to captain the roster, Lemieux led the Canadian men's team into Salt Lake City, United States. The team had failed to win a gold medal at the Olympics in fifty years but were still considered favorites to win. Lemieux was second to Joe Sakic in team scoring with six points in five games, and led the team to gold by defeating the United States 5-2 in the final game. Lemieux showcased his amazing hockey intelligence during the gold medal game against the United States. With Team Canada trailing 1-0 in the first period, Lemieux made one of the most famous and savvy plays in Olympic hockey history. After a cross-ice pass from Lemieux in the neutral zone, Canadian defenceman Chris Pronger carried the puck across the blue line into the American's zone, and fired a pass across the zone. Lemieux then faked like he was receiving the pass and proceeded to take a shot at the net, all while letting the puck slide through his legs, knowing he had forward Paul Kariya streaking behind him. Lemieux's fake caused American goalie Mike Richter to lunge in Lemieux's direction, and thus created a wide open net for Kariya to fire the puck in, as he received the pass from Pronger after Lemieux let it go to Kariya. During the tournament, his hip injury required several painkilling injections to keep him on the ice, and he only played one more NHL game after the Olympics before being lost for the season.[29] He would then play in his final international event, once again captaining Team Canada to victory in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, where he'd be Team Canada's 4th leading scorer, despite being 38 years old, having injuries, and playing in just 10 NHL games that year. Lemieux was also selected by team Canada for the 2006 Winter Olympics, but declined due to health.[38] Personal life The youngest of three sons of Jean-Guy and Pierrette Lemieux, he was raised by his stay-at-home mother, and his father, who was a construction worker. Lemieux was born on the same day as Patrick Roy, in the province of Quebec, just 200 kilometers apart. Off the ice, Lemieux smoked a half a pack of cigarettes daily. [39] He finally gave it up, perhaps due to Hodgkin's Disease. [40] Mario Lemieux married Nathalie Asselin on June 26, 1993.[41] They have four children: Lauren (born April 1993),[42] Stephanie (born 1995),[43] Austin Nicholas (born 1996)[44] and Alexa (born 1997).[45] Austin was born prematurely, weighing just two pounds, but he is perfectly healthy today. The family lives in the affluent Pittsburgh suburb of Sewickley. Lemieux has opened his home to young Penguins stars such as Marc-André Fleury and Sidney Crosby until they settled into the Pittsburgh area, as he did with Jaromír Jágr following the 1990 NHL Draft when he lived in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He is a naturalized American citizen[46] and on March 30, 2007, Lemieux, a registered Republican,[47] contributed $2,300 to Democratic U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign fund. In the past, he has also made contributions to the reelection fund of Republican former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.[48] On June 17, 2009, Lemieux was given the honorable title Knight from Quebec Premier Jean Charest.[49] On September 3, 2010, Lemieux was given the Order of Canada from then-Governor-General Michaëlle Jean.[50][51] The Mario Lemieux Foundation He created the Mario Lemieux Foundation during the same year he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma (1993). The purpose of the Foundation is to fund medical research projects. Additionally, the Lemieux Foundation supports other organizations such as the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Leukemia Society, the Lupus Foundation and the Children's Home of Pittsburgh. In 2007, Mario Lemieux along with Andre Agassi, Muhammad Ali, Lance Armstrong, Warrick Dunn, Mia Hamm, Jeff Gordon, Tony Hawk, Andrea Jaeger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Alonzo Mourning and Cal Ripken Jr. founded Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization, which helps professional athletes get involved in charitable causes and inspires millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support the community. Legacy "Le Magnifique", a bronze statue honoring Lemieux. Mario Lemieux has a considerable number of records, and stands in comparison along with Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, and Gordie Howe as one of the best NHL players of all time. Two records, (points in a season and assists in a season) have their first 10 listings as either Gretzky or Lemieux. Absences from pro Hockey due to Hodgkin's lymphoma and various injuries shortened Lemieux's playing time in the NHL, which has led many to speculate that his career totals would have been far higher had he been healthy throughout his career. A statue in his honor was erected in Pittsburgh in March, 2012, outside of the Consol Energy Center. [52] Records NHL 5 goals in different ways in one game (shorthanded, full strength, powerplay, penalty shot, and empty net) (December 31, 1988, against the New Jersey Devils; only player to accomplish the feat) - Not an officially recognized NHL record. Shorthanded goals, season (13 in 1988–89) Goals, period (4, 26 January 1997, shares record) Only player to score 30+ power-play goals in two different seasons One of only two players to score 10 or more short-handed goals in two different seasons. The other, Wayne Gretzky. Most goals scored or assisted on, season (57.3% of team's goals, 1988–89) Only player with three 8-point games Four career 5-goal games (shares record) Best goals per game in the regular season and playoffs at .750 (Mike Bossy is second with .747) Third best goals per game in the regular season at .754 (Bossy is first with .762, Cy Denneny is second with .756) All-Star Game Career goals (13, shares record) Goals in a single-game (4 in 1990, shares record) Points in a single-game (6 in 1988) MVP awards (3, shares record) Playoffs Goals in a single period (4, shares record) Goals in a single game (5, shares record) Points in a single period (4, shares record) Points in a single game (8, shares record) Best goals per game in the playoffs at .710 (Bossy is second with .659) Mario Lemieux's retired #66 and Michel Brière's retired #21 hanging above the scoreboard at Consol Energy Center in December 2010. Pittsburgh Penguins Games (915) Goals, career (690) Assists, career (1033) Points, career (1723) Longest goal-scoring streak (12 games) Longest point streak (46 games) Goals, season (85 in 1988–89) Assists, season (114 in 1988–89) Points, season (199 in 1988–89) Goals, game (5, four occasions including playoffs) Assists, game (6, three occasions, shares record) Points, game (8, three occasions including playoffs) Career statistics Regular season and playoffs Regular season Playoffs Season Team League GP G A P PIM GP G A P PIM 1980–81 Montreal-Concordia QAAA 47 62 62 124 127 3 2 5 7 8 1981–82 Laval Voisins QMJHL 64 30 66 96 22 — — — — — 1982–83 Laval Voisins QMJHL 66 84 100 184 76 12 14 18 32 18 1983–84 Laval Voisins QMJHL 70 133 149 282 97 14 29 23 52 29 1984–85 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 73 43 57 100 54 — — — — — 1985–86 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 79 48 93 141 43 — — — — — 1986–87 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 63 54 53 107 57 — — — — — 1987–88 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 77 70 98 168 92 — — — — — 1988–89 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 85 114 199 100 11 12 7 19 16 1989–90 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 59 45 78 123 78 — — — — — 1990–91 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 26 19 26 45 30 23 16 28 44 16 1991–92 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 64 44 87 131 94 15 16 18 34 2 1992–93 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 60 69 91 160 38 11 8 10 18 10 1993–94 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 22 17 20 37 32 6 4 3 7 2 1995–96 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 70 69 92 161 54 18 11 16 27 33 1996–97 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 76 50 72 122 65 5 3 3 6 4 2000–01 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 43 35 41 76 18 18 6 11 17 4 2001–02 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 24 6 25 31 14 — — — — — 2002–03 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 67 28 63 91 43 — — — — — 2003–04 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 10 1 8 9 6 — — — — — 2005–06 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 26 7 15 22 16 — — — — — QMJHL totals 200 247 315 562 190 26 43 41 84 47 NHL totals 915 690 1033 1723 834 107 76 96 172 87 International Year Team Event Result GP G A P PIM 1983 Canada WJC 7 5 5 10 12 1985 Canada WC 9 4 6 10 2 1987 Canada CC 9 11 7 18 8 2002 Canada Oly 5 2 4 6 0 2004 Canada WCH 6 1 4 5 2 International totals 36 23 26 49 24 Senior totals 29 18 21 39 12 NHL All-Star Games Year Location G A P 1985 Calgary 2 1 3 1986 Hartford 0 0 0 1988 St. Louis 3 3 6 1989 Edmonton 0 1 1 1990 Pittsburgh 4 0 4 1992 Philadelphia 0 1 1 1996 Boston 0 2 2 1997 San Jose 2 1 3 2001 Denver 1 1 2 2002 Los Angeles GP 1 0 1 All-Star Game totals 10 13 10 23 Awards Lemieux's star on Canada's Walk of Fame Hockey Hall of Fame – 1997 Stanley Cup champion – 1991, 1992, 2009 (as owner) Olympic gold medalist — 2002 Hart Memorial Trophy – 1988, 1993, 1996 Art Ross Trophy – 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 Conn Smythe Trophy – 1991, 1992 Lester B. Pearson Award – 1986, 1988, 1993, 1996 NHL Plus/Minus Award – 1993 Calder Memorial Trophy – 1985 Chrysler-Dodge/NHL Performer of the Year – 1985, 1986, 1987 Dapper Dan Athlete of The Year – 1986, 1989 Lester Patrick Trophy – 2000 Bill Masterton Trophy – 1993 NHL All-Star Game MVP – 1985, 1988, 1990 NHL First All-Star Team – 1988, 1989, 1993, 1996, 1997 NHL Second All-Star Team – 1986, 1987, 1992, 2001 NHL All-Rookie Team – 1985 CHL Player of the Year - 1984 ESPN Hockey Player of the Decade – 2000 ESPY Award NHL Player of the Year – 1993, 1994, 1998 Lou Marsh Trophy – 1993 In 1998, he was ranked number 4 on The Hockey News' list of the 100 Greatest Hockey Players, the highest-ranking French-Canadian player. Inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2004. His #66 has been retired by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Team Canada, and Laval Titan. In 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions as one of hockey’s most gifted players, as an inspirational role model and mentor, and for supporting charitable initiatives through the Mario Lemieux Foundation".[53] Cultural references Lemieux had a hockey video game, Mario Lemieux Hockey (1991) for the Sega Genesis, named after him.[54] Additionally, he was featured as the cover athlete on EA Sports' 2002 edition of its popular NHL series for multiple platforms. Mario Lemieux was mentioned in the hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest's track "Keep It Rollin'", which was released on the group's third studio album, "Midnight Marauders".[55] On the track, rapper Phife Dawg sings: "I skate on your crew, like Mario Lemieux." Canadian Hardcore punk band Comeback Kid are named after a newspaper article which nicknamed Mario Lemieux 'the comeback kid'[citation needed] Lemieux appears in NHL 12 in the game's 'Be A Legend' mode. Celebrity Golf Lemieux is a regular competitor at the American Century Championship, the annual competition to determine the best golfers among American sports and entertainment celebrities. He won the tournament in 1998 and has a total of two top ten finishes.[56] The tournament, televised by NBC in July, is played at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.[57] Dominik Hašek From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Dominik Hašek Hašek during a 2007–08 game Born January 29, 1965 (age 47) Pardubice, Czechoslovakia Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb) Position Goaltender Caught Left Played for ELH HC Pardubice HC Dukla Jihlava HC Jihlava NHL Chicago Blackhawks Buffalo Sabres Ottawa Senators Detroit Red Wings KHL HC Spartak Moscow National team Czech Republic Czechoslovakia NHL Draft 199th overall, 1983 Chicago Black Hawks Playing career 1980–2011 Dominik Hašek (Czech pronunciation: [ˈdomɪnɪk ˈɦaʃɛk], audio (help·info); born January 29, 1965) is a retired Czech ice hockey goaltender. In his 16-season National Hockey League (NHL) career, he played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and the Ottawa Senators. During his years in Buffalo, he became one of the league's finest goaltenders, earning him the nickname "The Dominator". His strong play has been credited with establishing European goaltenders in a league widely dominated by North Americans.[1] Hašek was one of the league's most successful goaltenders of the 1990s and early 2000s. From 1993 to 2001, he won six Vezina Trophies. In 1998 he won his second consecutive Hart Memorial Trophy, becoming the first goaltender to win the award multiple times. During the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, he led the Czech national ice hockey team to its first and only Olympic gold medal. The feat made him a popular figure in his home country[2] and prompted hockey legend Wayne Gretzky to call him "the best player in the game".[3] While with the Red Wings in 2002, Hašek became the first European starting goaltender to win the Stanley Cup.[4] In the process, he set a record for shutouts in a postseason year. Hašek is considered an unorthodox goaltender, with a distinct style that has labeled him a "flopper".[5] He is best known for his concentration, foot speed, flexibility, and unconventional saves, such as covering the puck with his blocker rather than his trapper.[5] Hašek holds the highest career save percentage of all time (0.9223) and is 7th in goals against average (1st in the modern era) (2.202), and the third-highest single-season save percentage (0.9366 in 1998–99). The record was broken by Tim Thomas in the 2010-11 season [6] and again by Brian Elliot in the 2011-12 season who now holds the record at .940.[7] Hasek is the only goalie to face the most shots per 60 minutes and have the highest Save% in one season. He did it twice, while with the Buffalo Sabres (1996 and 1998). Hašek is regarded as a future Hall of Famer by those in the hockey world.[8] At the time of his retirement, he was the oldest active goalie in the NHL at 43, and the second oldest active player in the league after Red Wings teammate Chris Chelios, who was 46. Hašek announced his retirement on June 9, 2008,[9] but on April 21, 2009, he announced a comeback to professional hockey and signed a contract with HC Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga.[10] On June 7, 2010, he signed with Spartak Moscow of the KHL and played the last season of his career in this team.[11]. Hašek announced his retirement on October 9th, 2012.[12] Early life Hašek started playing hockey at the age of six in his native Czechoslovakia. As he explains: “ They held a tryout for 5-year-old boys and my father took me there. I didn't even have real skates. I had those blades that you screwed onto the soles of your shoes, but I was tall, and the 9-year-olds didn't have a goalie, so they put me in with them and thats where I fell in love with the game of hockey.[13] ” In 1980, Hašek joined the top hockey league in the country, the Czechoslovak Extraliga, with his hometown team, HC Pardubice. He became the youngest hockey player in history to play at the professional level at age 16. He helped to win two league titles in 1987 and 1989. The next year, he was drafted by the Czech army to play for Dukla Jihlava. After making his mark and eventually playing for the Czechoslovakian National team, Hašek entered the NHL draft and was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1983. At the time, NHL teams were wary of drafting players from behind the Iron Curtain who were often unwilling to play in the NHL or barred from doing so by their countries. Consequently, Hašek was picked in the 10th round (199th overall) and was the seventeenth goalie selected. Hašek did not even know he had been drafted until several months later.[14] Until 1990, Hašek played in his native Czechoslovakia for HC Pardubice and HC Jihlava. He was named the top ice hockey player of the Czechoslovak Extraliga in 1987, 1989 and 1990, and Goaltender of the Year from 1986 through 1990.[15] His American career began with the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, where he played parts of two seasons. His NHL debut with the Blackhawks finally came in the 1990–91 season, eight years after the 1983 NHL Entry Draft. NHL career Chicago Blackhawks (1990–1992) In Chicago, Hašek spent time as the backup to Ed Belfour, and played only 25 games over two seasons with the Blackhawks, splitting time between the Blackhawks and the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL. On November 6, 1990, wearing the number 34 (31 was worn by backup goaltender Jacques Cloutier that year), Hašek made his first NHL start in a 1–1 tie against the Hartford Whalers.[16] His first victory came on March 8, 1991, in a 5–3 performance over the Buffalo Sabres, and on January 9, 1992, he recorded his first shutout in a 2–0 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.[16] During this time with the Blackhawks, his goaltending coach was Vladislav Tretiak, who was drafted in the same draft as Hašek but never was able to play in the NHL for the same reasons that delayed Hašek's arrival until age 25. His finest performance with the Blackhawks came in game 4 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals when he replaced Ed Belfour and played very well in a losing effort. Buffalo Sabres (1992–2001) After the Stanley Cup finals loss to Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago decided to stay with Belfour and Jimmy Waite. Hašek was traded to the Buffalo Sabres for goalie Stephane Beauregard and future considerations, which later materialized into a draft pick used to obtain Éric Dazé. In Buffalo, wearing number 39, he was initially the backup goaltender, first playing behind Tom Draper and then Grant Fuhr. When Fuhr was injured partway through the season, Hašek was elevated to starter, where he soon developed into a top tier goaltender. In 1994, he won his first Vezina Trophy, was runner-up for the Hart Trophy and shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Fuhr. Hašek played 58 games with a league-best 1.95 goals against average (GAA), seven shutouts, and a .930 save percentage. He followed this feat by again winning the Vezina Trophy and again placing as a Hart finalist in 1995. Hašek's continued success in the 1996–97 season was overshadowed by a conflict with then-head coach Ted Nolan. The conflict created a tense, clique-like atmosphere in the Sabres' clubhouse.[17] In game three of the first round series against the Ottawa Senators, Hašek removed himself in the second period and was replaced by Steve Shields.[18] Hašek suffered a mild sprain of his right MCL, and the team doctor pronounced him day-to-day. However, the media and some teammates speculated that Hašek was using his injury to bail out on the team.[17] One such individual was Buffalo News columnist Jim Kelley, who wrote a column which detailed Hašek's injury and his conflict with Nolan, and questioned the goaltender's mental toughness.[19] When Kelley approached Hašek for an interview after a loss in game five of the best-of-seven series, Hašek attacked the journalist[19] and received a three-game suspension and a $10,000 (US) fine as a result of the incident. With Steve Shields in goal, the Sabres fought back against the Senators and took the series in seven games. However, Hašek claimed his knee was still injured and did not play in the five-game loss in the following series against the Philadelphia Flyers. Though General Manager John Muckler was named "Executive of the Year", he was fired for his constant feuding with Nolan. Hašek, who sided with Muckler, stated in an interview during the 1997 NHL Awards Ceremony that it would be better if Nolan was not rehired.[20] Despite winning the Jack Adams Award as top coach and being popular with the Sabres fanbase, Nolan was only offered a one-year contract extension by replacement GM Darcy Regier. He rejected this under the grounds that it was too short, and decided to part ways with the franchise. This upset many fans, who blamed Nolan's departure on Hašek's alleged attempt to rid him.[21] For the first six weeks of the next season he was booed so vigorously that arena workers would play tapes of a crowd cheering to help balance it out.[22] As the season progressed, Hašek played well and won back many fans. He won the Vezina Trophy again, as well as the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Hart Trophy for league MVP. He became one the few goaltenders in NHL history to win the Hart, alongside Al Rollins and José Théodore, and Hall of Famers Jacques Plante, Chuck Rayner and Roy Worters. Hašek played a career high 72 games in the 1997–98 season, and set a team record with 13 shutouts. Six of these shutouts came in December, which tied the all-time NHL record for most in one month.[23] He again won the Lester B. Pearson Award, the Hart Trophy, and the Vezina Trophy, becoming the first goalie in NHL history to win the Hart twice. He donated the $10,000 prize money after winning the Pearson Award in 1998 to the Variety Club of Buffalo.[23] In the off-season he signed a $26 million deal, the highest goaltender salary contract at that time.[24] In 1999, Hašek averaged a career best 1.87 GAA and .937 save percentage, capturing him his third consecutive Vezina, and fifth overall. He was also a finalist for the Hart and Pearson trophies. Though the Sabres did not have a stellar regular season and finished with the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, they defeated the Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs in the playoffs en route to a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Dallas Stars. The Sabres eventually lost the series four games to two, with the decisive sixth game being one of the longest Stanley Cup playoff games in NHL history. Hašek and Ed Belfour made 50 and 53 saves, respectively, in a sudden-death triple-overtime duel that only ended when Brett Hull scored a controversial Cup-winning goal with his foot in the goal crease.[25] The goal was not reviewed immediately, so officials did not notice Hull's foot in the crease until minutes later. After video reviews showed Hull's position, the goal was still upheld, leaving the Sabres infuriated. Hašek commented, "Maybe [the video goal judge] was in the bathroom. Maybe he was sleeping. Maybe he doesn't know the rule."[26] The following season, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced that video replays would no longer be used to judge if players are in the crease or not, and that it would be a judgment call by the officiating crew. After the season ended, Hašek contemplated retirement because of a combination of injuries and a desire to become more involved in his family life.[27] The announcement stunned many of his teammates, particularly Mike Peca and Jason Woolley.[27] In the 1999–2000 season, Hašek was hampered by a nagging groin injury.[28] He missed forty games and failed to win a major NHL award for the first time in several years. Though he healed in time for the playoffs, the Sabres were eliminated in the first round in five games by the Philadelphia Flyers. In 2000–01—his final season with Buffalo—Hašek set a modern era record by collecting his sixth Vezina Trophy. He also won his second William M. Jennings Trophy. The Sabres played Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs again, where Hašek outplayed his 1998 Olympic back-up Roman Čechmánek.[29] In the clinching sixth game, Hašek recorded a shutout against the Flyers. In the second round, the Sabres played a seven-game series against Mario Lemieux's Pittsburgh Penguins, which culminated with the Penguins winning the final game in overtime. Detroit Red Wings (2001–2004) Before the start of the next season, Hašek was traded to the Detroit Red Wings in an attempt to lower the Sabres' payroll and to send Hašek to a more competitive team.[1] He was dealt for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a first round selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft and future considerations, which eventually became the draft pick of Jim Slater. During his first season with Detroit, Hašek posted a career high 41 wins with just 15 losses,[30] helping the Red Wings earn the President's Trophy with the league's best record. In the playoffs, he led the Wings past the Vancouver Canucks, the St. Louis Blues, the Colorado Avalanche and eventually the Carolina Hurricanes in the finals to win the Stanley Cup. During the conference finals against Colorado, he became the first goalie to be awarded an assist on an overtime game-winning goal in the post-season after passing the puck to Wings captain Steve Yzerman,[31] who then assisted Fredrik Olausson in scoring the final goal of the third game of that series. He also set a record for most shutouts in a post-season with six, broken the year after by Martin Brodeur with seven. That summer, Hašek officially announced his retirement so that he could spend time with his family and other hobbies.[32] However, after Detroit's first round loss to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the following season, he expressed his desire to play again. This created a difficult situation for the Red Wings, who had two years left on Curtis Joseph's three-year $24 million contract, which had a no-trade clause. Detroit was also under pressure knowing that the rival Colorado Avalanche would be looking for a goalie to replace Patrick Roy after his retirement.[32] With Manny Legacé also on the Wings' roster, Detroit now had three potential starting goalies. In the 2003–04 season Hašek injured his groin after playing just 14 games. On January 9, he and the team agreed he should rest his injury for two to four weeks. Hašek privately told general manager Ken Holland that he would not accept any pay while he was injured. On February 10, he announced that he was not going to continue to play that season, surprising the Red Wings management.[33] He eventually revealed that he refused about $3 million of his $6 million salary.[34] In April 2004, he underwent groin surgery in Prague, and returned to his hometown of Pardubice to recuperate. Ottawa Senators (2005–2006) After his contract with the Wings expired, Hašek announced his intention to play for a Stanley Cup contender, and specifically named the Ottawa Senators as a possibility.[35] On July 6, 2004, after trading Patrick Lalime to the St. Louis Blues, the Senators signed Hašek to a one-year deal. During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Hašek toured with the Primus Worldstars. Similar to the tour Wayne Gretzky and IMG formed during the 1994–95 NHL lockout, the Primus Worldstars Tour ran December 7–23, playing in seven different countries (Riga, Latvia; Moscow and St Petersburg, Russia; Bratislava, Slovakia; Bern, Switzerland; Karlstad, Jonkoping and Linkoping, Sweden; Oslo, Norway; Katowice, Poland) in ten scheduled games. The tour competed against all-star teams or club teams of each country.[36] Hašek played increasingly well for the Senators up until the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. During the season, he reached 300 career wins, and his GAA and save percentage were the second-best in the league. Upon departure to Turin, Hašek's equipment was accidentally left behind in Ottawa. This caused Hašek to miss a number of practices with the Czech National team. At the Winter Olympics, he injured his right adductor muscle while making a save in the first qualifying match against Germany, forcing him to leave the game after only 9 minutes and 25 seconds.[37] Hašek's injury caused him to miss the rest of the regular season and post-season, despite several rumours that he would return in time for the playoffs. He said that if he were to be re-signed, he would play for a base salary of $500,000 with bonuses.[38] Hašek in warm-up before a game against the Los Angeles Kings on March 9, 2007 After the Senators were eliminated in the second round, they opted not to re-sign Hašek, despite Hašek's willingness to take a pay cut. Detroit Red Wings (2006–2008) On July 31, 2006, at the age of 41, Hašek joined the Red Wings for the second time. He signed a one-year $750,000 US contract, with added bonuses if the team succeeded in the playoffs. He posted 38 wins and a 2.05 GAA while leading the Red Wings to the number one seed in the Western Conference. He also broke his own personal record by going 181 minutes and 17 seconds without allowing a goal.[39] Midway through the regular season, the team announced that to avoid injury and preserve Hašek for the playoffs, he would not play on consecutive nights.[40] He played his first consecutive nights of the season on April 21 and 22 against the Calgary Flames in games 5 and 6 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Hašek won both games, clinching the series for Detroit. In the next round against the San Jose Sharks, the Red Wings were on the road and down two games to one, but Hašek held the Sharks to three goals in the next three games. His 28-save shutout in game six tied him for sixth place on the all-time NHL playoff shutouts list and sent the Red Wings to the Western Conference finals against the Anaheim Ducks. However, Hašek and the Red Wings lost in six games to the Ducks, who eventually defeated the Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup. Hašek contemplated retirement in the 2007 offseason, but on July 5, 2007, he signed a one-year contract with Detroit worth $2 million with up to $2 million in bonuses,[41] reportedly turning down $5 million for salary cap room for the rest of the Red Wings' roster.[42] During the 2007–08 season, he was replaced by backup Chris Osgood. When Hašek recovered and got back into his stride, Detroit chose to alternate goaltenders in tandem instead of designating either as the backup. Detroit coach Mike Babcock announced Hašek to start in the 2008 playoffs. Through the first two games against the Nashville Predators, the Red Wings were victorious, but after a lackluster performance in the next two, Osgood was in goal for the remainder of the playoffs.[43] Despite expressing disappointment at losing his starting position, Hašek maintained his professionalism in practice and continued to support his teammates, with Darren McCarty citing close relationship between Hašek and Osgood.[44] Eventually the Red Wings beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games for the Stanley Cup. On June 9, 2008, Hašek announced his retirement from the NHL, only five days after winning his second Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings, saying he lacked the motivation for another year in the NHL. With Osgood, the two were awarded the William Jennings Trophy for least goals against on a team in the season. Hašek is expected to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.[44] Final years in Europe and retirement In April 2009, Hašek once again came out of retirement and signed a one-year contract with HC Moeller Pardubice, the club where he started his long career.[45] In the 2009–10 season he led his team to win Czech league title. Hašek had three shutouts in the playoffs, one in the finals, while his Pardubice lost just one game in the playoffs before claiming 12 consecutive wins.[46] For the 2010–2011 hockey season, Hašek signed a one-year contract with HC Spartak Moscow.[47] On May 15, 2012, Czech website hokej.cz reported that Hasek has discussed playing for Piráti Chomutov team newly promoted to the Czech Extraliga.[48] On May 25, 2012, Czech sport website Deniksport reported that Hasek is considering comeback to NHL possibly with the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings or Tampa Bay Lightning but the 2012–13 NHL season did not start on time and he announced his retirement on October 9th, 2012. International play Hašek in goal for the Czech Republic during the gold medal game Medal record Competitor for Czech Republic Men's ice hockey Olympic Games Gold 1998 Nagano Bronze 2006 Turin World Championships Silver 1983 West Germany Bronze 1987 Vienna Bronze 1989 Stockholm Bronze 1990 Berne / Fribourg World Junior Championships Silver 1982 Minnesota Silver 1983 Leningrad Silver 1985 Helsinki/Turku Hašek's most memorable international performance came in the 1998 Winter Olympics, where he led the Czech national team to the gold medal. He allowed six goals in total, with only two of them coming in the medal round. Against Team Canada in the semifinals, Hašek stopped Theoren Fleury, Ray Bourque, Joe Nieuwendyk, Eric Lindros and Brendan Shanahan in a dramatic shootout win. He then shut out the Russian team 1–0 in the final game, stopping 20 shots. He was later announced as the best goaltender in the Olympics. After he won the gold, he was quoted as saying:[49] “ "When the game ended, I just threw my stick. I was so happy. When I saw the flag go up, I saw my whole career flash before my eyes from the first time my parents took me to a game until now." ” His play made him one of the most popular figures in the Czech Republic, so much so that residents chanted "Hašek to the castle!" in the streets. In response to this, Hašek called the country's president Václav Havel and jokingly told him that his job was not in jeopardy.[50] He also helped to inspire an opera (titled Nagano) about the Czech team's gold medal victory,[51] and in 2003, Petr Pravec and Lenka Šarounová named an asteroid (8217 Dominikhašek) in his honour.[52] In the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Hašek played for just nine minutes and twenty-five seconds, until he injured his right adductor muscle.[53] Despite his absence, the Czechs managed to earn the bronze medal with backup goaltender Tomáš Vokoun, which Hašek received as well. Style of play Hašek displaying his flexibility in warm-ups before a 2006 game. Hašek's flexibility is credited as one of his strengths. Hašek has an unorthodox goaltending style.[5][54] He is extraordinarily flexible and was jokingly described in a MasterCard commercial as having "a Slinky for a spine".[55] In order to cover the bottom of the net, where most goals are scored, Hašek drops down on almost every shot. His "flopping" style is derived from him flailing in the crease, using every part of his body, including his head, to stop the puck. Hašek occasionally drops his stick and covers the puck with his stick hand, whereas most goaltenders would use the glove hand instead.[5] In response to the speculation he receives from his style, Hašek explained: “ They say I am unorthodox, I flop around the ice like some kind of fish. I say, who cares as long as I stop the puck?[13] ” Hašek's unique style has attracted fans to games.[56] Because of his flexibility, Hašek can make difficult saves that other goalies cannot[13]—an opposing coach once referred to them as "miracle saves".[56] These types of saves include toe-stops, snagging pucks from behind his back, and a desperation maneuver known as the "Hašek roll".[13][57] Hašek is also known for his strict regimen of conditioning.[58] During the off-season between May and September 2006, he lost a considerable amount of weight to increase his flexibility. Hašek was one of the last goaltenders to wear a helmet-and-cage combo rather than a contemporary hybrid goalie mask.[59] The last was his former teammate Chris Osgood who left the NHL three years after Hašek.[60] Personal life Hašek and his wife Alena have a son named Michael (born 1990) and a daughter named Dominika (born 1994). He divides much of his free time playing squash and inline hockey, where he plays defense. When he was younger, Hašek played competitive football as a midfielder, and was a junior tennis champion in Eastern Bohemia.[61] His brother Martin is also a competitive athlete and played for the Czech Republic football team AC Sparta Prague before retiring and eventually deciding to coach. Cousin Ivan Hašek also played professional football. Hobby-wise, Hašek claims that he has been a fan of professional wrestling since his Buffalo days, and says that he mostly follows his favorite wrestlers, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Don "The Rock" Muraco. He and his son were seen many times throughout the night at WrestleMania 23 in the front row at Ford Field.[62] Because of his formal education, Hašek stands out among Czech sportsmen. He earned a university degree after studying history and the Czech language in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hradec Králové, which qualified him to be a teacher, and led him to teach high school classes.[63] Hašek also has a brand of sportswear named Dominator Clothing, which was launched shortly after the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and is popular among Hašek's fans in the Czech Republic. It also had two locations in Michigan for a short time.[64] In May 2001, Hašek founded the Dominik Hašek Youth Hockey League/Hašek's Heroes, and donated over $1 million to help underprivileged children in Buffalo play hockey.[65] In 1998, he also organized a charity hockey game in Prague, and donated the profits to hospitals in the Czech Republic.[66] Hašek is known to appreciate humor to keep team spirits up, and often jokes about his resemblance to Cosmo Kramer of Seinfeld.[67] In the late 1990s, he was featured in a Mastercard commercial that praised his flexibility.[55] On November 26, 2006, Mark Parisi's comic panel off the mark featured a comic about Hašek's childhood.[68] Throughout his long career, Hašek has been represented by agent Ritch Winter.[23] Inline hockey game incident During an inline hockey game on May 18, 2003, Hašek was accused of assaulting another player. He was playing as a defender for Bonfire Střída when he crosschecked Martin Šíla. The prosecutor in the case, Lenka Strnadová, ruled two months later that there was no evidence that Hašek intended bodily harm and recommended the case be treated as a misdemeanor, punishable only by fine ($95 USD maximum), rather than a felony where jail time would have been possible.[69] Hašek's lawyer Pavel Jelínek announced in a statement that media reports about the incident were exaggerated, with Šíla not having sustained any documented injuries. In October 2003, the country's top prosecutor overruled Strnadová, saying her ruling was unlawful because the case had not been properly investigated. The Pardubice prosecution then investigated the case again, and reached the same decision as Strnadová.[70] Legacy Milestones Hašek earned his 300th National Hockey League win on October 15, 2005, in a 5–1 home victory with the Ottawa Senators over the Boston Bruins. He stopped 34 of 35 shots and was holding a shutout until Bruins forward Pat Leahy jammed a loose puck under him three minutes into the third period. He became the twenty-second goaltender to reach the milestone.[5] He is the oldest goaltender in NHL history to post a 30-win season, and in 1997, he became the first goaltender to win the Lester B. Pearson Award for most outstanding player in the league. He is also the only goaltender to win the Hart Trophy twice for most valuable player, and was only one Vezina Trophy away from tying Jacques Plante's record of seven. Hašek's personal best shutout streak is 181 minutes, 17 seconds. Records In nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Hašek acquired over 25 franchise records, including most all-time games played, wins, shutouts and lowest goals against average.[23] He also holds the Sabres' record for most shutouts in a single season with 13 in 1997–98, and lowest goals against average in a single season with a total of 1.87 in 1998–99. During the Detroit Red Wings' championship run in 2002, Hašek set franchise records for most games played, minutes played, wins and shutouts in a playoff year. He holds several notable NHL records: General Before retirement 3rd place – Most shutouts of all active players 4th place – Most wins of all active players All-time 1st place – Highest career save percent (.922) 1st place – Most games played by a European born goaltender (735) 6th place – Most shutouts (81) 8th place – Lowest goals against average (2.13) 11th place – Most wins (389) Regular season First European goalie to lead the NHL in GAA (1993–94) First goalie since 1974 to have a GAA below 2.00 (1993–94) Most shutouts in one month (six in 97–98) Playoffs Before retirement 3rd place – Most shutouts of all active players (15) 4th place – Most wins of all active players (61) All-time 2nd place – Most shutouts in one season (6) 3rd place – Most shutouts (15) 10th place – Most wins (61) Possibly the most impressive single-game performance by any player in NHL history came on April 27, 1994. Hašek made 70 saves in a 4OT shutout. The opposing goalie was Martin Brodeur, then a rookie, who made 49 saves before being beaten by Dave Hannan and the Sabres beat New Jersey 1–0. Hašek's 70 saves set a record, which still stands, for the most saves without allowing a goal. Career statistics Bolded numbers indicate season leader Regular season Season Team League GP W L T† MIN GA SA SO GAA SV% 1980–81 HC Pardubice CSEx 9 — — — 598 24 — — 2.98 — 1981–82 HC Pardubice CSEx 12 — — — 661 34 — — 3.09 — 1982–83 HC Pardubice CSEx 42 — — — 2,358 105 — — 2.67 — 1983–84 HC Pardubice CSEx 40 — — — 2,304 108 — — 2.81 — 1984–85 HC Pardubice CSEx 42 — — — 2,419 131 — — 3.25 — 1985–86 HC Pardubice CSEx 45 — — — 2,689 138 — — 3.08 — 1986–87 HC Pardubice CSEx 43 — — — 2,515 103 — — 2.46 — 1987–88 HC Pardubice CSEx 31 — — — 1,862 93 — — 3.00 — 1988–89 HC Pardubice CSEx 42 — — — 2,507 114 — — 2.73 — 1989–90 Dukla Jihlava CSEx 40 — — — 2,251 80 — — 2.13 — 1990–91 Indianapolis Ice IHL 33 20 11 1 1,903 80 — 5 2.46 — 1990–91 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 5 3 0 1 195 8 93 0 2.46 .914 1991–92 Indianapolis Ice IHL 20 7 10 3 1,162 69 — 1 3.56 — 1991–92 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 20 10 4 1 1,014 44 413 1 2.60 .893 1992–93 Buffalo Sabres NHL 28 11 10 4 1,429 75 720 0 3.15 .896 1993–94 Buffalo Sabres NHL 58 30 20 6 3,358 109 1,552 7 1.95 .930 1994–95 Buffalo Sabres NHL 41 19 14 7 2,416 85 1,221 5 2.11 .930 1995–96 Buffalo Sabres NHL 59 22 30 6 3,417 161 2,011 2 2.83 .920 1996–97 Buffalo Sabres NHL 67 37 20 10 4,037 153 2,177 5 2.27 .930 1997–98 Buffalo Sabres NHL 72 33 23 13 4,220 147 2,149 13 2.09 .932 1998–99 Buffalo Sabres NHL 64 30 18 14 3,817 119 1,877 9 1.87 .937 1999–00 Buffalo Sabres NHL 35 15 11 6 2,066 76 937 3 2.21 .919 2000–01 Buffalo Sabres NHL 67 37 24 4 3,904 137 1,726 11 2.11 .921 2001–02 Detroit Red Wings NHL 65 41 15 8 3,872 140 1,654 5 2.17 .915 2003–04 Detroit Red Wings NHL 14 8 3 2 816 30 324 2 2.20 .907 2005–06 Ottawa Senators NHL 43 28 10 4 2,583 90 1,202 5 2.09 .925 2006–07 Detroit Red Wings NHL 56 38 11 6 3,341 114 1,309 8 2.05 .913 2007–08 Detroit Red Wings NHL 41 27 10 3 2,350 84 855 5 2.14 .902 2009–10 HC Pardubice CEx 36 24 12 0 2,066 77 905 3 2.24 .9216 2010–11 HC Spartak Moscow KHL 44 23 18 3 2,591 106 1,250 7 2.45 .915 NHL totals 735 389 223 82 42,826 1,572 20,220 81 2.13 .922 CSEx/CEx totals 351 — — — 20,487 944 — — 2.76 — † Note: As of the 2005–06 season, ties have been replaced by an overtime or shootout loss. Playoffs Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SA SO GAA SV% 1990–91 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 3 0 0 69 3 39 0 2.60 .923 1990–91 Indianapolis Ice IHL 1 1 0 60 3 — — 3.00 — 1991–92 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 3 0 2 158 8 70 0 3.03 .886 1992–93 Buffalo Sabres NHL 1 1 0 45 1 24 0 1.33 .958 1993–94 Buffalo Sabres NHL 7 3 4 484 13 261 2 1.61 .950 1994–95 Buffalo Sabres NHL 5 1 4 309 18 131 0 3.49 .863 1996–97 Buffalo Sabres NHL 3 1 1 153 5 68 0 1.96 .926 1997–98 Buffalo Sabres NHL 15 10 5 948 32 514 1 2.02 .938 1998–99 Buffalo Sabres NHL 19 13 6 1,217 36 587 2 1.77 .939 1999–00 Buffalo Sabres NHL 5 1 4 301 12 147 0 2.39 .918 2000–01 Buffalo Sabres NHL 13 7 6 833 29 347 1 2.08 .916 2001–02 Detroit Red Wings NHL 23 16 7 1,455 45 562 6 1.85 .920 2006–07 Detroit Red Wings NHL 18 10 8 1,139 34 444 2 1.79 .923 2007–08 Detroit Red Wings NHL 4 2 2 202 10 89 0 2.91 .888 2009–10 HC Pardubice CEx 13 12 1 785 22 326 3 1.68 .937 2010–11 HC Spartak Moscow KHL 4 0 4 204 14 89 0 4.12 .864 NHL totals 119 65 49 7,316 246 3,283 14 2.02 .925 CEx totals 13 12 1 785 22 326 3 1.68 .937 International Bolded numbers indicate tournament leader Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SV SO GAA SV% 1983 Czechoslovakia WJC 6 — — — — — — — 3.33 — 1983 Czechoslovakia IHWC 2 1 1 0 120 5 — 1 2.50 — 1984 Czechoslovakia CC 4 0 3 1 188 12 — 08 4.00 — 1984 Czechoslovakia WJC 7 4 0 2 380 10 — 0 1.89 — 1986 Czechoslovakia IHWC 9 5 3 1 538 19 — 0 2.12 — 1987 Czechoslovakia IHWC 9 5 2 2 520 19 — 1 2.19 — 1987 Czechoslovakia CC 6 2 3 1 360 20 — 0 3.33 — 1988 Czechoslovakia Oly 5 3 2 0 217 18 — 0 4.98 — 1989 Czechoslovakia IHWC 10 4 4 2 600 21 — 2 2.10 — 1990 Czechoslovakia IHWC 8 5 3 0 480 20 — 1 2.50 — 1991 Czechoslovakia CC 5 1 4 0 300 18 — 0 3.60 — 1998 Czech Republic Oly 6 5 1 0 369 6 155 2 0.97 .961 2002 Czech Republic Oly 4 1 2 1 239 8 105 0 2.01 .924 2006 Czech Republic Oly 1 0 0 0 9 0 1 0 0.00 1.000 Senior totals 69 32 28 8 3940 166 — 7 2.40 — Olympic totals 16 9 5 1 834.25 14 261 2 2.00 .946 Awards NHL Award Year(s) awarded Hart Memorial Trophy 1997, 1998[71] Lester B. Pearson Award 1997, 1998[72] Vezina Trophy 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001[73] Stanley Cup Champion 2002, 2008 William M. Jennings Trophy 1994, 2001, 2008[74] NHL First All-Star Team 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 NHL All-Rookie Team 1992 NHL All-Star Game 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 (did not play due to injury), 2002 Nominations Award Year nominated Award winner Hart Trophy 1994 Sergei Fedorov (Detroit Red Wings) Hart Trophy 1995 Eric Lindros (Philadelphia Flyers) Hart Trophy 1999 Jaromír Jágr (Pittsburgh Penguins) Lester B. Pearson Award 1999 Jaromír Jágr (Pittsburgh Penguins) Czechoslovak and Czech awards Award Year(s) awarded Czech Hockey Player of the 20th century[75] 1998 Czech Sportsperson of the Year[75] 1994, 1998 Golden Hockey Stick[75] 1987, 1989, 1990, 1997, 1998 Czechoslovak First League Best Goaltender[75] 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 International Award Year(s) awarded Olympic Games Best Goaltender[76] 1998 WC Best Goaltender[76] 1987, 1989, 1990 WJC Best Goaltender Award[77] 1983 Transactions June 8, 1983 – Drafted by Chicago in the 10th round, 199th overall August 7, 1992 – Traded to Buffalo for Stephane Beauregard and a fourth round pick (Éric Dazé) March 19, 1998 – Agreed with Buffalo on a three-year, twenty-six million dollar contract June 30, 2001 – Traded to Detroit for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a first round pick in 2002 (Daniel Paille) and future considerations June 25, 2002 – Announced retirement from professional hockey July 8, 2003 – Returned to Detroit as an active player July 6, 2004 – Signed as a free agent by Ottawa July 27, 2005 – Contract option exercised by Ottawa for 2005–06 season July 31, 2006 – Signed as a free agent by Detroit July 5, 2007 – Signed as a free agent by Detroit June 9, 2008 – Again announced retirement from professional hockey April 21, 2009 – Signed as a free agent by HC Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga June 7, 2010 – Signed as a free agent by Spartak Moscow of the KHL October 9, 2012 - Announced retirement from professional hockey for the third time. 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