So far, Hasek's been dominating old self

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Senators goalie Dominik Hasek doesn't look old, he looks like "The Dominator" of old.

There were all kinds of concerns being raised about the 40-year-old Hasek before the season started, but five games into his career as a Senator nobody is complaining.

After playing having only 14 games in three year, many wondered if Hasek's surgically repaired groin was going to hold up, but the only ailment he's had so far is a sore throat -- and that didn't keep him from starting and beating the Lightning 4-1 on Friday night.

COMFORT ZONE

Hasek, who will start tonight vs. the Hurricanes, is slowly but surely starting to feel more comfortable in the Senators net.

"So far, so good. Six games and 12 points. That's exactly what you want," said Hasek, who has earned 10 of those points with five wins, following a light workout here yesterday. "Up to this point, everything has been going good for me and I feel pretty good.

"But I know that this is a long season and you've got to play 82 games to get to the playoffs. We're not always going to win and we're going to go through parts of the schedule where things aren't going well. I don't really want to think too much about where I'm at right now. We will see where everything is at after 20 or 30 games."

WORRYWARTS DENIED

For all the naysayers and worrywarts out there waiting for a part of Hasek to go creak or watch him turn into a washed-up old guy, it simply hasn't happened.

"I'm not surprised one bit and I wouldn't call what he has done a surprise," said Senators GM John Muckler. "This is exactly what I expected when I signed (Hasek) to a contract. I know what kind of talent he is and what kind of athlete he is. I know how hard he works.

"He's been very good. He's come in here and shown that he wants to get the job done. We're talking about a guy here who is on a mission. He wants to show he's one of the elite-level goalies in the NHL and he wants to win a Stanley Cup. That's why he is here."

And Hasek has been a good fit.

"He's been great around the room. He's been a leader and he's fit in with the guys quite well," said Muckler. "I knew he wasn't going to lose his skills. You have to be mentally focused to have success and I know from talking with (Hasek) he is focused."

Hasek said he has liked what he's seen from his teammates so far, but wants to get more work to get into a rhythm. He was excellent in the victory over Tampa Bay.

The club will play only its second game in eight days tonight against Carolina.

"This has been boring," admitted Hasek with a smile. "When you are playing well as a team, you want to keep playing. If you look at (almost) everybody else on the schedule, they've played eight or nine games and we've played six. You get used to playing three games a week. When you have one game in a week it can be tough to keep focused in practice."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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