Peca high on Hasek

TERRY KOSHAN

, Last Updated: 7:57 AM ET

DETROIT -- There was a time when Michael Peca was happy to watch Dominik Hasek make some of his bizarre, take-your-breath-away saves.

The Maple Leafs centre and Detroit Red Wings goalie last night got together on the same sheet of ice for the only time this season but both remember fondly what it was like to call the other teammate.

Peca and Hasek were key members of the Buffalo Sabres club that made some noise in the playoffs in the late 1990s, figuring prominently in a run to the Stanley Cup final in 1999 before the team lost to the Dallas Stars.

"When you think of what you want in a teammate, Dom exemplifies it," Peca said. "Someone who works hard, all he wants to do to win. He is probably the guy who worked the hardest."

At 41 and the oldest player in the NHL after teammate Chris Chelios, Hasek's work ethic has not waned.

But it's the same kind of approach that endeared him to Peca, who was the Sabres captain.

It does not hurt that Peca remains one of the few players in the NHL who brings a large dose of respect even if he scores once in a blue moon.

"What a great player," Hasek said. "Great defence, he could hit, block shots. I really enjoyed playing with him. A good leader, always prepared. He was one of the best defensive players I played with."

When asked if the public perception of Hasek is that he is wacky is right, Peca replied with a small hint of humour: "Aren't all goalies? He is a unique individual and was a fun teammate."

And as for those saves that Hasek became known for on the highlights, Peca thinks it has been spreading.

Patrick Roy was heralded for making popular the butterfly. For Peca, Hasek has made the unpredictable save the norm.

"I think nowadays there are a lot more goalies who play like Dom," Peca said. "They are making those acrobatic behind-the-back, legs-and-arms-and-stuff saves. He revolutionized that type of goaltender."


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