Dominik Hasek's season is over because of a groin injury. He's determined not to let it end his career.
"I'll be back next season," Hasek said last night.
The 39-year-old Hasek ended his retirement after one year to return to Detroit this season, but he played in just 14 games. He was 8-3-2 for the Central Division-leading Red Wings.
Hasek said he doesn't regret coming back.
"No, I never made a mistake," he said. "Unfortunately my groin wasn't strong enough."
One of the NHL's all-time great goaltenders, Hasek won two MVP awards and six Vezina trophies, given to the league's top goalie, during a nine-year stint in Buffalo. He also led the Czech Republic to a gold medal in the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
He joined the Red Wings before the 2001-02 season, winning his first Stanley Cup that season.
Hasek skated with his teammates yesterday, then made his surprising announcement.
"It's very sad, but that's the way it is," he said. "I hoped for two months it would get better every day. But it didn't get better, it got even worse last week."
Rich Winter, Hasek's agent, said the goaltender's desire to win another championship will have him back on the ice next season.
"He came back to Detroit to win a Stanley Cup and I think he wants to come back again to be a part of another run for the Cup," Winter said. "This was not the storybook ending we were all hoping for for Dom, in the final chapter of his career."
The Red Wings are left with the same goalies -- Curtis Joseph and Manny Legace -- they had last year. Detroit had one of the best records in the league last season, but lost to Anaheim in the first round of the playoffs.
When Hasek retired in 2002, Detroit lured Joseph from Toronto with a $24 million, three-year deal. When Hasek returned and agreed to make $6 million this season, the Red Wings desperately tried to trade Joseph.
Blake out indefinitely
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Rob Blake broke his left leg and will be out indefinitely. He had been playing in pain the past couple of weeks and tests Monday revealed the fracture. "I'm a little surprised just because I was playing on it and getting some things done on it," he said yesterday before Colorado hosted the New York Islanders. "It wasn't getting any better. It was getting worse and worse, so it was time to get it looked at." Blake said he remembered getting hit with a shot in a game against Pittsburgh Jan. 24 and "there's been a couple since then." Trainer Pat Karns said Blake will be out until the leg is completely healed . . . The Columbus Blue Jackets acquired former Boston College defenseman Brendan Buckley in a swap of defensemen with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blue Jackets shipped Pauli Levokari to Pittsburgh for Buckley, who is from Needham, Mass. . . . Phoenix Coyotes forward Tyson Nash was suspended two games without pay for slashing San Jose's Alexander Korolyuk last Thursday.