Hasek positive about retirement, sort of

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The Independent Online

Dominik Hasek will retire at the end of the NHL season - unless he changes his mind.

Dominik Hasek will retire at the end of the NHL season - unless he changes his mind.

The two-time NHL Most Valuable Player has reaffirmed his decision to retire, but again suggested on Wednesday that he might have a change of heart.

"Of course, you think about it a lot when you are injured," the Buffalo Sabres goalie said on Wednesday after his daily treatment for a groin injury. "But I didn't change my decision."

Hasek told the Czech newspaper Sport this week that he is thinking about postponing his retirement.

"I don't really know what was in the Czech paper," Hasek said. "I didn't expect to be injured the whole season and finish my hockey career like that, so of course I think about everything. But I haven't changed my mind yet."

Hasek announced in July he would retire at the end of this season. But he had a slow start and has not played since injuring his groin October 27.

He hoped to return by the middle of December, but now isn't sure when he might be back in net.

"It's getting better very slow," he said. "I can still feel the pain. I know I won't be back on the ice in 1999, but I hope I'll be back in the next millennium."

Hasek's teammates say they have no idea whether Hasek will be back or not.

"It's more for media to have fun with," defenseman Jason Woolley said. "As far as we're concerned, he's not playing next year."

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff believes Hasek's injury has caused the goalie to reconsider.

"He's looking at it that he's been injured and doesn't want to go through this year having a bad year or not playing at all," Ruff said.

Hasek was the NHL's top goalie five of the last six seasons and is the only goalie to be named MVP twice.

Hasek, who has a career 2.28 goals-against average and .926 save percentage, stumbled to a 1-4-1 start this season. Buffalo is tied for third place in the NHL's Northeast Division with a 14-15-5 record.

His replacement, rookie goalie Martin Biron, is 12-6-1 and has proved to be reliable.

"He's playing consistently, which is a lot to ask of a young goalie," teammate Dixon Ward said.

Biron says he doesn't worry about when or if Hasek will replace him, and is ready to step aside.

"When he comes back, he gets the spot he deserves," Biron said. "I've played 19 games this year; he's played how many? I'm going to learn a lot from him."

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