LAS VEGAS -- Not many people know Dominik Hasek better than New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr. They were fixtures on the Czech national team during the past two decades. They shared incredible highs together while wearing the national team jersey.
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2014
So it is of little surprise that Jagr was genuinely pleased to find out Hasek was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, part of a Class of 2014 that also features Peter Forsberg, Mike Modano and Rob Blake.
"I didn't even know. He truly deserves it," said Jagr, who was at Media Day for the 2014 NHL Awards. "He was one of the best. He's a little bit older than me, but I had a chance to play with him in Nagano and some national team games. He was a wall."
Internationally, Hasek was never better than during the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the first tournament in which the NHL released its players to compete. His brilliance played a huge part in the Czech Republic's surprising run to gold in that tournament.
"That was probably the biggest surprise in any tournament in the world and we did that because of him. He had a special style and he loves the game," Jagr said. "I'm happy for him."
Jagr, meanwhile, is a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Dominic Moore from the New York Rangers and Manny Malhotra of the Carolina Hurricanes are the other finalists.
Jagr said winning the Masterton would mean a great deal to him.
"I think everybody knows right now how much I love hockey," Jagr said Monday. "So, it's a big honor for me to be nominated. Hockey is everything in my life. I always try to do the best I can do in hockey, so this trophy is something special."