Hasek set to do Battle

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Dominik Hasek officially was drafted into the Battle Of Ontario last night, though he's already heard a year's worth of war stories about the Maple Leafs and Senators.

"I definitely know a lot about this rivalry," Hasek said before facing the Leafs in his Corel Centre debut, a year after he signed here. "The people talk about it every time you meet them. They talk almost more about Toronto than they talk about (winning) the Stanley Cup.

"Probably, I'm a little bit excited and nervous. It's not just another pre-season game, it's the first one in this building for me"

The Senators, who played their first three exhibition games on the road, had not been at the Corel Centre since Mike Fisher's overtime goal on April 16, 2004 forced a seventh game in the opening playoff round against the Leafs. Toronto eventually won its fourth series against Ottawa.

The arena was sold out well in advance of last night's game.

New Sens coach Bryan Murray was asked about the game-within-a-game between 40-year-olds Hasek and Ed Belfour, who could meet as many as eight times this regular season.

"The goaltending matchups are always intriguing and interesting, but geez, there'll be a couple of 60-somethings going at it, too," he said of matching wits with Pat Quinn.

"I don't know Eddie that well, but he has a great work ethic and that's why he's been in the game as long as he has."

Belfour, who was not scheduled to play last night, and Hasek were once teammates with Mike Keenan's Chicago Blackhawks.

"It was a tough time," Hasek recalled. "Eddie was the starter, I was the backup. Fortunately, Mike traded me to Buffalo and it was good luck for me. Finally, I proved to myself I could be a starting goalie."


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