Hasek signs after weeks of speculation


OTTAWA -- Dominik Hasek is thinking Stanley Cup again, and
that's exactly why the Ottawa Senators signed one of the game's top

"I wanted to play for a team that I believe can win the Cup,"
Hasek said at a news conference Tuesday. "And I believe that with my help, all together, we can
do it."

Hasek, who won his first Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings
in 2002, signed a one-year, $2 million deal with an option year at
$3 million. Should Ottawa win the Stanley Cup, Hasek would earn $4
million in bonuses, The Canadian Press reported.

"We've gotten a goaltender who's one of the best," Senators
general manager John Muckler said. "This is an exciting time for
the hockey team."

The move was not a surprise. Ottawa received permission from
Detroit to speak with Hasek even before the Czech star became an
unrestricted free agent last Thursday.

"Ottawa was my first choice, and I was very excited when my
agent called back and said they were very interested in me," said Hasek, who is 39. "And today I'm here."

Hasek, who played just 14 games last season for
Detroit because of a groin injury, could be a good fit for Ottawa.
The Senators have a talented roster and Muckler was the GM at
Buffalo for five seasons when the goalie was earning his nickname
"The Dominator."

The Senators welcomed Hasek by having Jason Spezza give up his
No. 39 to the goalie. Spezza will now wear No. 19.

It became clear the Senators were very interested in Hasek when
they traded goalie Patrick Lalime to the St. Louis Blues during the
NHL entry draft on June 27.

Hasek is a two-time league MVP and won six Vezina Trophies,
given to the league's best goaltender, in nine years with the
Sabres. He also led the Czech Republic to the gold medal in the
1998 Nagano Olympics.

He joined the Red Wings in July 2001, winning his first Stanley
Cup 11 months later, then retiring.

He ended his one year-retirement last season, going 8-3-2 with a
2.21 goals against average and a .907 save percentage before the
injury ended his year. He had groin surgery this spring.

"It was disappointing last year but at the same time, I know I
can still play," Hasek said. "I know I'll be coming back and be
in better shape than I was last year."

The Red Wings told Hasek they weren't interested in having him
back, deciding to stick with Curtis Joseph and Manny Legace.

Meanwhile, Muckler needed to make a change in goal after Lalime
played poorly in Ottawa's first-round playoff loss to rival Toronto
this spring.

Muckler met with Hasek over a month ago to discuss the
possibility of the goalie signing with Ottawa.

"The excitement on his face, it convinced me that this was the
right way to go," Muckler said.