June 11, 2002
DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Practice Day
DOMINIK HASEK: We haven't finished our business and there's no time for celebration until you win all 16 games. We were talking about it and we, like I said, have to get ready for the next game. And if we win, then it's time to celebrate. But right now we have to be very focused for the next game.
Q. Was last night the best you have seen your team play in front of you?
DOMINIK HASEK: I would say yes. From a defensive point, it was probably the best game we played this year the whole Playoffs, especially in the third period; we didn't give them anything. My teammates, they were always in the right positions. They blocked the shots and, you know, on the road I had only 17 saves, so it really means something. My teammates, they played great. They did a really good job defensively for me.
Q. Talk about the difference between playing for a favorite like Detroit as opposed to an underdog like Buffalo. Is it easier or actually harder?
DOMINIK HASEK: This year compared to 1999 is a completely different situation. In 1999 we were underdogs; this year we were the favorite team. At least for the media side. I think this year, small pressure because everybody in this town and everybody in the locker room expect to us win. And we like this pressure because we are here to win. The talent we have in the locker room, we should win. But we cannot think too much about it until you win the Final game, until you win the fourth game of the series. We don't look too far ahead -- all I am concentrating on is the first period of the next game, and next 60 minutes, maybe even more, who knows.
Q. Did you sense they had a little less life in Game 4? Given the way they lost in Game 3, did they have less jump?
DOMINIK HASEK: I think they started really well, but I think they had less life probably because we played very well defensively. We scored the first goal. And anytime you score against a team like Carolina, the first goal, it's sort of easier to control the game because they have to -- they opened the game in the third period, and we scored other two goals. So I think they had less life because we played such a great defensive game.
Q. How are you feeling one win shy of the Cup?
DOMINIK HASEK: I feel very excited to have a chance to play at home, the game that we can reach the Cup. However, I don't want to be too excited because the final step is sometimes the most difficult step.
Q. Will you retire if you win?
DOMINIK HASEK: No comment. I have to be focused for the next 60 minutes, even more than we can start talking about --
Q. Compare the Olympic Gold Medal Final to the Cup-clinching possible game.
DOMINIK HASEK: I think Steve was talking about it, it is sort of -- it's very similar. Olympics is such a short time, you know, and here you spend the whole year together as and a team, together as one family. Then you play in the Playoffs, and there is more ups and downs in the Playoffs. In the Olympics you lose and you are out. I would say to win the Cup or to go through like two months, it's even probably more difficult than just one week in the Olympics.
Q. Are you taking the puck out of net, wandering more than you usually do?
DOMINIK HASEK: I don't know. I mean, I try to play the puck. I enjoy it, but I don't do it only because I enjoy it. I do it because my goal is to help my teammates, to prepare the puck for them. And if I see they can get hit, you know, I'd rather just play the puck around the board, even though it could be the giveaway. But I still feel I don't want to get my teammates to get hit in the corner or behind the net, so sometimes I play the net even if it is a giveaway.
Q. Is it because how competitive you are and how much you want to win? And has anybody said to you maybe, Dominik, maybe I can take that puck?
DOMINIK HASEK: No. We talk about it, what to do. Communication is very important. I think communication in the Playoffs is very good, and also it's much easier for me to play the puck if they are open for me. If they want the puck, it's like day and night. If you see your guy, he really wants to get the puck, it's easier. There were like 3, 4 situations yesterday. They were really skating fast because they knew I am going to give them the puck. If they just glide or if they don't skate, I cannot give them the puck. With you they always try to be open so I can pass them, and they make my job easier.
Q. Is it possible to enjoy the journey to the Cup, or do you only really enjoy it if and when you get it?
DOMINIK HASEK: I am enjoying this time. However, I say it's always about a win and this team would be successful only if you win the Cup. So, I mean, if we don't win the final game, I cannot say it was fun for me because it's all about winning. And expectations in this organization are very high. So I really can enjoy it only if we win the final game.
Q. What did you consider your role when you came to this team? Was it to make great saves or to not give up bad goals?
DOMINIK HASEK: No, the goal right from the beginning was to -- I just repeat, it was to win the Cup. I chose this organization for two things: Because I believed that this team, with my help, is good enough to be the best in the NHL; and other thing was because I want to go to the city where the people like hockey. And that's why this was two reasons why I chose Detroit. So my only goal -- I mean, my goal when I asked to be traded to Detroit was to win the Cup because I believe this team is good enough to do it.
Q. What is it like to play in a game where scoring chances are relatively few?
DOMINIK HASEK: In these games, one goal can be the big difference. And if you face only 17 shots, you know, the responsibilities sort of don't give up. If you give up two goals, it's too much, 17 shots. Your team plays so well in front of you and you have to be sharp and there's no time to relax. There are times like ten minutes and you face only one or two shots, so you sort of always have to be concentrated and keep your muscles sharp. Stretch your knee on the ice couple of times up and down because, like I said, the next shot may be the most important shot of the game. Except the last game, all the games were so close and one goal can be a big difference.
Q. How important is Sergei to your penalty kill?
DOMINIK HASEK: Outstanding. My teammates, outstanding (inaudible). Sergei, he's a big part of it. I think he's a great skater and he's strong. So he can win many battles, many battles around the board. And he is very important, not only in the powerplay killing, but as a defensive scorer. He's a great defensive forward. He can -- he's strong. He can win this part, and he has strong good hands.
Q. Will the result of this series have any impact on what you decide to do afterwards win or lose?
DOMINIK HASEK: I don't think so. Right now, like I said, let's wait until we play the last game and then we can start talking about it.
Q. Do you have it in your own mind? You just don't want to say it publicly?
DOMINIK HASEK: No. I haven't come to any decision yet because, like I said, there's still some hockey to be played.
Q. (Question about Conn Smythe.)
DOMINIK HASEK: No, I didn't think about it. I am sure if we win there will be some of my teammates who will deserve already this trophy. I think they played really well in front of me, defensively my defense played great. And offense, they scored very important goals. So I am sure if -- but it's a team game. And we have one step to go. We don't think about individual trophies right now because we have to win one more game.
Q. How in the world do you relax today or tomorrow with it so close --
DOMINIK HASEK: Today is good time to relax. I spend my time with family. I will see World Cup games in soccer and tomorrow I start -- I am thinking already about the next game, but from tomorrow on I will I want to be very focused for the next game.
Q. What do you see in Game 7, Game 5 do you see it like Game 7 in Colorado or more like Game 3 in this series?
DOMINIK HASEK: No doubt we want to close it. We want to finish it here and we want to do anything to win and we hope it's going to happen. But if it won't happen, if it doesn't happen, we have to get ready for the next game and we don't want to think about it but it can happen, you know, it can happen and if we don't win we have to refocus and get ready for the next game. Of course our goal is to finish it here. However, everything is possible.
Q. Is there a reason you didn't want to sit down?
DOMINIK HASEK: I am sort of superstitious. In the past I was standing on the stage and we were in the next round of Playoffs or in the Finals. I said this year, I -- I go on the stage but not in the Playoffs.
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