TORONTO -- Ottawa hockey fans might never get to see Dominik Hasek wear a Senators jersey.
In an exclusive interview yesterday, Hasek told the Sun he has informed Senators GM John Muckler that if there's no collective bargaining agreement in place by September, his NHL career is over.
Hasek, 39, speaking in the lobby of the Westin Harbour Castle after yesterday's NHL Players' Association meeting, was signed to lead the Senators to a Stanley Cup. But he admitted he might not get that chance.
"I told John Muckler that if there's no deal by September, then you're going to have to get yourself another goalie," said Hasek. "That's not what I want ... I want to play, but I can't have this uncertainty for my family."
Hasek, who signed last July to a two-year contract which includes an option for next season, will return to the Czech Republic in the next few weeks with his wife, Alena, along with children Michael, 14, and Dominika, 9.
"Once my kids are enrolled in school in the Czech Republic next year, then that's it, we're not going anywhere," said Hasek, who moved to Ottawa last August. "I'm not going to be away from them and it wouldn't be fair to move them if nothing happens until next January.
"I still hope that we're able to play and that both sides can go forward to get something done. We had good meetings here the last couple of days and everybody is behind what our leadership is doing. Hopefully, they can find a way to get this worked out this summer. If they do, I'll be ready to play."
After attending camp with the Senators AHL affiliate in Binghamton last September, Hasek has been trying to stay busy. He has practised with the Ottawa 67's and took part in the Primus Worldstars Tour in December. But since the season was officially cancelled last month, Hasek has been making plans to go home. He thought about signing in the East Coast League, but wasn't able to play because of visa problems.
While it's possible Hasek could play in the Czech Republic the rest of the season, he isn't sure what his future holds. Hasek said he needs to play because he's suited up for only 14 NHL games in the last three years.
"I'm in a situation where I need to play," he said. "I wanted to play in the (minors), but I have problems with my visa in the United States and we're not able to get those cleared up, so I'm not able to work there."
Losing Hasek would be devastating for the Senators organization. His signing last July and the decision to hire Bryan Murray as coach created a buzz around town.
"I've been skating with him since the lockout started and I can tell you, he's got a great work ethic and he's very competitive," said Senators centre Todd White. "I just think it would be a lot of fun to play with him. I hope we can get this resolved so we can all get back to playing."