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Monday, June 24
 
Red Wings plan Tuesday news conference

ESPN.com news services

DETROIT -- The wife of goaltender Dominik Hasek said Monday night that her husband is retiring, although Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland would not confirm it after meeting with him.

Dominik Hasek
Hasek

Alena Hasek told television station WDIV that her husband was leaving the Red Wings to return to the Czech Republic, something Hasek would not confirm.

Neither would Holland, although the Red Wings tentatively scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. ET Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

Holland met with the 37-year-old goaltender and agent Rich Winter on Monday night at a restaurant. Afterward, Holland would not say what transpired.

''I want to make sure Dom is absolutely sure of his decision,'' Holland told The Detroit News on Monday night. ''If he's staying, I want to make sure he's under no obligation to his teammates or anyone else.

''I want to make sure it's his decision. If he's retiring, I want to make sure he's sure of that.''

Holland has said Hasek likely would say this week whether he would retire or return for next season. The Buffalo News reported Sunday that Hasek was going to retire and return to his native Czech Republic.

Holland has said that he knew Hasek was leaning one way, but he would not say which way that was.

''We were hopeful that our team and the success we've had would be enough to influence him to continue his career,'' Holland told the Detroit Free Press.

Hasek's contract calls for him to get $8 million if he returns next season.

Hasek led the Red Wings to their third Stanley Cup in six years and the 10th in franchise history this season. Detroit acquired him from the Buffalo Sabres last summer. Hasek won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1997 and 1998 with Buffalo.

The Red Wings need to know Hasek's decision before July 1, when the free agent signing period starts. If Hasek decides to retire, the Red Wings likely will pursue a free agent such as Toronto's Curtis Joseph.

Two unnamed NHL sources told the Buffalo News that Hasek informed Holland last week he would be going to the Czech Republic to retire. Holland then told his star goalie to think about it for another week before making a definitive announcement.

At Saturday's NHL draft in the Air Canada Centre, Holland admitted several Red Wings have been trying to coax Hasek into playing one more season. If Hasek informed the Red Wings he was coming back, there would be no reason to give him extra time to reconsider.

Hasek has reneged on retirement plans before. He said three years ago that the 1999-2000 campaign would be his last but changed his mind less than a year later.

Many believed Hasek would retire after he refused to commit to another season at the Stanley Cup championship celebration in downtown Detroit. Fans chanted "One more year, one more year," and several teammates said they were trying to coax Hasek into returning to the Red Wings.

Hasek's retirement would fall on the heels of Scotty Bowman's departure. Bowman, the winningest coach in NHL history, announced his retirement moments after winning his record ninth Stanley Cup.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.




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