Hasek in minor league

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 PM ET

BINGHAMTON -- This wasn't the way Dominik Hasek's career with the Senators was supposed to start.

At 8:59 a.m. yesterday at the quiet, dark Broome County Arena, Hasek stepped onto the ice, his first official act with the Senators.

The goalie, who may someday carry the Senators' Stanley Cup dreams on his shoulders, seems happy to bide his time 450 kms away from Ottawa.

"I don't want to be treated any differently than the rest of the players here. I just want to be one of the guys," said Hasek. "I'm feeling good. I feel healthy. I'm just going to train here for the next couple of weeks and then sit down with (GM) John Muckler to see what's next."

Coming off surgery last April to repair a chronic groin problem, the 39-year-old Hasek has been skating with his Senators' teammates in Ottawa and many of the faces who surrounded him yesterday were familiar.

Centre Jason Spezza, defencemen Brian Pothier and Anton Volchenkov along with Ottawa hopefuls Josh Langfeld and Chris Kelly are among the players here.

They'll be here until the NHL-NHLPA stalemate is settled, but Hasek's fate hasn't been determined.

TRAINING FOR 2 WEEKS

"We're not sure what's going to happen with Dominik," said Muckler. ""I know that he wants to play somewhere. He felt it was important to bring his family over here. We've made the decision that Dominik Hasek is going to train here for the next couple of weeks. Once that period is over with, then we're going to decide what's next."

Hasek has options. He could play in Europe, the East Coast Hockey League or remain in the AHL. Indications are he's not going to spend the season here.

Hasek has placed his kids in schools in Kanata and would like to remain close.

"I felt it was important to have the people who are closest to me around me and that's why I brought my family to Ottawa," said Hasek. "I can't sit here and say I'm going to play for this team or I'm going to play in the 4-on-4 (OSHL) league. Right now, I don't know.

"I want to play hockey. I feel it's important for me to play. I'm just going to try to get ready to play (at this training camp) and then we'll make some kind of decision."

Hasek is almost certain to suit up for tomorrow night's Black and White intra-squad game at the rink. He is not scheduled to play in any of the club's five exhibition games.

"We didn't bring Dominik Hasek here to play games," said Muckler. "We want to make sure he's ready if there's a season.

"He's in excellent shape and he's been working hard to get ready. It's going to be good to have him working with these younger players."


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