January 23, 1999
Q. Dominik, as much fun as it is for the forwards and the defensemen in an All-Star Game, is it that much of a nightmare for the goalies when you play in an All-Star Game?
DOMINIK HASEK: No, not at all. It's fun for me to be here and to play the game. I know it is going to be a wide open game. And we'll see how it goes. Much more than you see during a regular season. But for me, I play only one period and I'm looking forward to it. I know it probably won't be a shutout, but I enjoy the game.
Q. Dominik, earlier this season, I put you on the spot and asked you to pick five guys. You said Jagr, Selanne and Forsberg. Five forwards, your dream team sitting here on the ice with you, can you talk about that?
DOMINIK HASEK: I don't know. It looks like probably right now the best forwards -- the best defensemen is in Canada. No, it's just a joke. I am glad to be here, not only with these three probably the best forwards I ever played, but, you know, if I look around the locker room, there is so many big stars. And I am glad to be here with all these players. It's always fun for me.
Q. Dominik, you had mentioned before that it probably won't be a shutout tonight. Do you go into every game expecting to shutout the other team, thinking hey, I'm perfectly capable of stopping any team in the game.
DOMINIK HASEK: Usually when I play against New Jersey I know. (Laughter) I face Martin Brodeur, it needs to be a shutout to beat New Jersey. Another thing about a shutout -- I never think about the shutout before the game. I always go play the game and think about a win. It doesn't matter for me if the game is 4-3 or 1-0, I enjoy the game and I feel great after every game. It's the best feeling in hockey, to win the game and come with my teammates to the locker room and enjoy the time after the game.
Q. Dominik, a number of players, All-Stars including Wayne Gretzky, say that you are the single best player in the game. What is your reaction to those statements, including from Wayne?
DOMINIK HASEK: It's very nice to hear, you know, especially from the player who I admire most of all, from Wayne Gretzky. To hear something like that it's very nice. But I think it's very hard to compare the goalies and the players on the ice. I mean the forwards and defense, because our position is very different. We are 60 minutes on the ice, and other players, they spend between 20 and 30 minutes on the ice. So I think it's very difficult to compare this to different positions. But I don't know what to say about that. It's a great feeling, if players like Wayne Gretzky say anything like that. But I think it's hard to compare a goalie and the other players on the ice.
Q. Dominik, how difficult is it for you to get yourself worked or psyched up for a game such as the one tomorrow?
DOMINIK HASEK: Sometimes it is more difficult if you face -- I mean if you play, like, 13, 14 games a month, and physically I feel very good. I'm in good condition. But mentally, to be ready for every game, it's sometimes very difficult. You know, and I know sometimes I am 100 percent ready; sometimes I am like 95 percent ready. I would like to be every game mentally focused right from the beginning until the very end. But, you know, sometimes it's not this way. But I try to be focused and concentrated 100 percent every game. But usually I play like 70, 75 games a season. It's very, very difficult to concentrate 60 minutes a game. But it's my goal to concentrate 60 minutes a game.
Q. Dominik, Philadelphia sits atop the conference right now. They look at Buffalo and yourself as the team to beat. You guys have had their number not only in the playoffs but in the regular season. Do you feel that you guys actually just have the Flyers' number in that game, that you can take care of them?
DOMINIK HASEK: I see the Flyers as one of the best teams in our division, together with Ottawa and New Jersey Devils and of course with our team. And there is, of course, we were in the conference final last year and everybody in Buffalo expects from us to do it the same way at least this year. So I don't know, Buffalo is a great team, and they both have the same chances. We are a smaller team, maybe a better skating team, they are a bigger team, stronger. I don't know. If it's them, it's probably 50/50 percent for each team.
Q. Dominik, some of the players we talked to earlier said that one of the most effective things about you is you get in the guys' heads before they ever step on the ice. Is that one of the things that helps make you so effective?
DOMINIK HASEK: I go by the game and I think about playing well and winning the game. I never think never what the players think about me. My job is to stop the puck. I don't even care what they think, you know, I am focused. I think about if I face, Jagr, let's say I think about players Sakic, Forsberg, about the best players. But I have no idea what do they think about me, and it really doesn't matter for me. I just try to be focused on my game and stop every puck. And I don't care what they think.
Q. Dominik, tonight you have the skills competition. How much pressure is there for the World Team to have a good showing against the guys from North America?
DOMINIK HASEK: I think there is not too much pressure, you know. Of course -- well, we want to win, of course. But I don't think there is too much pressure. I know there is usually for the goalies, and I don't know if you know about it, we have to stop the puck and shoot it all over the ice. So I think there is big advantage for the goalies, Martin Brodeur, who can probably shoot the puck better than me or Nikolai or Arturs. But they shooted the puck -- when I was a kid, I didn't think about shooting puck and they know it better.
Q. Do you practice your shot for that goalie shot competition?
DOMINIK HASEK: I practiced three times today in the practice.
Q. Dominik, what do you take away from this All-Star Game experience on a personal level?
DOMINIK HASEK: It's always -- it's my fourth All-Star Game, and it's a great experience to be here, meet with all the people, you know, with so many great players. You never see so many media and so many business people like you do during these two days. And I'll always come with my family, with my kids, and my son, he always enjoys to be here. This year he will get a chance to be a stick boy for our team, so I hope he's gonna enjoy it.
Q. Dominik, if the game is tied tomorrow it goes to a shootout. Last year obviously in the All-Star Game in the skills competition in Vancouver you had a pretty impressive shootout competition and of course a much bigger one against Canada and Nagano. What are your feelings on the shootout to settle a game after overtime?
DOMINIK HASEK: To be honest, I am not a big fan of that. I enjoy it during the practice. If I have to do it, I do it. It's in the skills competition. But I don't think it's -- I don't know, I am not big fan of the shootout after overtime during the regular season. If I talk about ideas, in soccer there are three points to win the game and one point to tie the game. You will see more goals, force the players to score goals in overtime. I think it's a good idea. First couple of years, when I heard about it, I said oh, it's a bad idea. My brother is a professional soccer player, but he said it forces the players to score more goals. Maybe it's a good idea for the NHL, just to think about it.
Q. Dominik, if you had the possibility to choose between another Olympic Gold Medal with Czech Republic and the first Stanley Cup with the Buffalo Sabres, which would you choose?
DOMINIK HASEK: I know for sure the Stanley Cup because I already won the Olympic Gold Medal. So I don't want to say Stanley Cup is more than the Olympics, but I already won in the Olympics. So now my major goal is to win the Stanley Cup for the Buffalo Sabres.
Q. Dominik, out of all the games thus far in the season that you have played, in your mind what games stand out, what games do you think you had good performance or some games you thought you did not have a good performance?
DOMINIK HASEK: I had many good games and a couple of bad games. My goal is to get into the Playoffs and start our goal in Buffalo is to start the first round at home. So I, of course it's nice to have a shutout. I feel better after -- bad after giving up one times goal like to the Mighty Ducks in Anaheim. It doesn't matter. The major goal is to start the first round at home in Buffalo.
Q. Dominik, the Sabres have been off now since you played Tampa Bay earlier this week. Have you had a chance to do anything around Tampa Bay?
DOMINIK HASEK: My family and me, we spend last couple of days in Orlando and Disney World, swimming. We had a really good time. And so it's nice to spend a week here in Florida, especially when I live in Buffalo. When I left my house, there was more than three feet of snow in front of my house. It was nice to spend a week here in Tampa, in Florida.
Q. Dominik, since the advent of the World Hockey League and the early ages, the influence of rural players have constantly increased and taken part in the NHL. Do you see the time when it will be that world players, Canadians and Americans will be in a 50/50 basis? Do you see that?
DOMINIK HASEK: Well, I don't know -- you know, I never thought about it. So I am not really sure. But it's maybe possible at times. I don't know how many players play hockey in Canada, in the United States, but I know in Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, there are many great players. I think it's in the future, I probably see like 40 percent from Europe, 60 percent from North America. But it's -- I really don't know exactly the numbers. That's my feeling.
Q. Dominik, can you talk about the emergence of goalies from Europe in the NHL and can you compare them in any difference at all to the way the North American goalies are trained?
DOMINIK HASEK: I think there is not any more big difference between goalies from Europe and the NHL, but a big difference is in stick handling. I don't know how many players, how many goalies there are exactly right now in the NHL, but, you know, like my coaches, they never taught me to play with a stick, you know, so I -- so there's the biggest difference. The North American goalies are much better with a stick. But the style of European goalies and North American, it's very similar and I don't see any big difference like, for example, 15, 20 years ago.
Q. Dominik, who's a bigger star now in Buffalo, you or Doug Flutie, and have you bought any Flutie Flakes?
DOMINIK HASEK: I don't know who's bigger star. But for sure I bought -- me and my son bought Flutie Flakes. So we got it at home.
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