Dominik Hasek becomes seventh Red Wing from 2002 Stanley Cup team to reach Hall of Fame

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(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Two men with strong ties to Detroit hockey are the first-ballot Hall of Famers everyone expected.

Dominik Hasek, part of the fabled 2002 Detroit Red Wings team that won the Stanley Cup, and Mike Modano, an area native who played for the Wings in his twilight, lead the Class of 2014 inductees.

Peter Forsberg and Rob Blake were the other players announced Monday, along with former coach Pat Burns, who is in the Builder category, and former official Bill McCreary in the Referee & Linesman category.

Hasek, 49, had two stints in Detroit, highlighted by his sensational arrival from Buffalo in the summer of 2001. Hasek had just set a record by collecting his sixth Vezina Trophy, but for all his personal triumph in Buffalo - including a run to the Stanley Cup final in 1999 (won by Modano's Dallas Stars), a Stanley Cup championship had been elusive.

That changed within a year of his arrival in Detroit, where Hasek joined a cast so loaded with elites six of them already have preceded Hasek into the Hall.

Players are eligible three years after they retired from playing professionally. Hasek became a hard man to pin down on such a date, as pushed through continents to continue playing into his 40s. He departed the Wings after a tempestuous 2003-04 season that saw Hasek limited to 14 games because of severe groin injury. He spent 2005-06 with the Ottawa Senators, returned to Detroit for two seasons, sat out a year, and then played in his hometown of Pardubice, Czech Republic, in 2009-10. He was last seen in a pro game in Russia in 2011, aged 46.

Modano, 44, joined the Wings after 20 seasons with the Minnesota-Dallas franchise, but what was supposed to be a storybook tale of local boy coming home soured when Modano suffered a deep gash to his right wrist in November of 2010. He was sidelined 41 games, and ended up as a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Modano, of Westland, signed a one-day contract with the Stars in September of 2011 in order to retire with his long-time club.

Modano holds the NHL record for most goals (561) and points (1,374) by an American-born player.

Hasek brings to seven the number of Wings from the 2002 team that are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining Igor Larionov (2008), Steve Yzerman (2009), Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille (2009) and Chris Chelios and Brendan Shanahan (2013).

Next year will be a slam dunk for another member, as legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom hits the three-year-out mark.

Contact Helene St. James: hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

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