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June 25, 1998

Dominik Hasek


GARY MEAGHER: Questions for Dominik?

Q. How does it feel the second time around, Dominik?

DOMINIK HASEK: You know, to win the first time is always something special. But this year was different than any other year. The first time in my life I faced something in the beginning of the season that, in the people, you know, and the fans. Before, they didn't welcome me. They booed me. So I never, you know, it was completely different season than any other in my career. I would never think in September, October or November that I can be here tonight and on the left side the Vezina Trophy and on the right side the Hart Trophy. Weird season. Great season.

Q. Did it bother you more than you let on? We talked to you many times in October and November and asked you about the way you were being treated. You said you weren't letting it bother you. Now that it's all over, did it bother you more than maybe you let on?

DOMINIK HASEK: I don't remember what I said. But of course it  you don't feel comfortable if you step on the ice or if you drop a goal and the people booed you. It's a very difficult feeling. Like I said, I had not only support of my family and of my friends, but very important was that I had also support of the organization, my teammates, and of course it affect my game in the beginning. But the only thing  only way I believe I can go through it is hard work, practice, and believe that one day everything will turn. And it turned good in the month of December.

Q. In some ways did that inspire you a little more, the way that the fans treated you?

DOMINIK HASEK: No. Not at all. It was just part of the life, you know. But I think a person goes through such a difficult time, it makes the person be stronger in a way. It's a great experience, to go through this time. Like I say, I feel personally stronger to go through these experiences.

Q. Did you ever think to yourself maybe you wanted to get out of Buffalo during that time?

DOMINIK HASEK: Of course it went through my mind. But on the other hand, you know, you want to prove to the people that they are wrong, and they were wrong. But it wasn't my goal to prove something here, my goal was to play well and to win the game. Of course I want to prove little bit, but it wasn't my goal. My goal was to get to the playoffs and play well during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Q. Dominik, how do you feel that so many great goaltenders over the years some of them didn't even win once and you won twice?

DOMINIK HASEK: I don't know. It feels great. But, you know, in the '80s and beginning of the '90s, the goaltenders had to face the players, Wayne Gretzky and then Mario Lemieux. I think it was even difficult for the goalies to win the trophy in the '80s and beginning of the '90s. Like I said, yeah, that's all I want to say.

Q. Which trophy means the most to you?

DOMINIK HASEK: It's great to win this trophy. Both. But of course this one, the Hart Trophy is probably the best individual trophy a player can achieve. Somebody asked me a question right when I left the stage, there are many goalies, they didn't win twice, the Hart Trophy. But like Plante, but I still feel like I'm not on the same stage where he was, or he is. Because he maybe only won this trophy, but he won the Stanley Cup. So until I win the Stanley Cup, I still don't believe I am on the same level like they are.

Q. From all the things that you went through this year, from what you talked about before and the Gold Medal and getting farther in the playoffs than you ever were before, how are you going to look back on this whole season? What are the things that are going to stand out? What's it been like to go through so many emotional highs and lows?

DOMINIK HASEK: Great season. You know, to win it's something I will never forgot. You know, great for our team to get to the semifinal and the playoffs. It was good or great. If you don't win the last game of the season, you cannot feel happy. But, you know, for me it's only the start of the season. And next year is the new season and challenges I face are new, against the goalies. But first of all, we have to get to the playoffs and, you know, I want my individual trophies. I want the Olympic games. I'm still missing one trophy, you know, and I want to do anything to bring it to Buffalo.

Q. Does it upset you they're (inaudible)...

DOMINIK HASEK: No, it doesn't upset me at all. It's the same rule for all the goalies and it will help the forwards to score the goals, but it also helps my forwards. So it's a new rule, I have to face it and it doesn't upset me at all. It's same for everyone.

GARY MEAGHER: Anything else? Good. Thanks, Dominik.

End of FastScripts...

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