Detroit needs to stand behind CuJo

Updated: June 24, 2003, 11:27 AM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
Goaltender Dominik Hasek's willingness to return for another season comes a year too late as far as the Detroit Red Wings are concerned, and now the two-time Hart Trophy winner's exploration of ending his one-year retirement will cause nothing but anxiety in the front office and the dressing room.

While preoccupied with trying to re-sign forwards Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, Darren McCarty and Igor Larionov before they become unrestricted free agents July 1, Detroit general manager Ken Holland now has to wonder if and how he can fit the team's $8 million option on Hasek's contract into the tightening payroll. Even if Hasek did come back, is it worth gambling that the 38-year-old can return to form after a year off and for probably only one season?

"Dominik has been in contact with the Red Wings several times over the past several weeks, and they've had serious discussions about the possibility of him coming back, but he hasn't made a final decision," Hasek's agent Rich Winter told Canadian sports channel TSN on Monday night.