With all the talk of Mike Modano possibly retiring after this season, that has given me a chance to think that the team's all time Star could be at the end of the road. With the reports of his parents being at the final game, expected sell out for tomorrow's night's game against the Anaheim Ducks, and with him getting his 800th assist of his career against the Edmonton Oilers back on Friday Night. The timing seems right for him to hang up his skates after Saturday's Night against the Minnesota Wild.
Mike Modano Career Stats: www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8449645&view=stats#&navid=nhl-keymatch
He's really gotten every major milestone he can get for an American Player. With the biggest win of course was winning the Stanley Cup in 1999 and winning an Olympic Silver Medal back in 2002 in Salt Lake City. In addition to the Cup and an Olympic Medal, he's also a member of the 500 goal club, 1000 point club and 1000 career games, he's also the All Time American Leading Scorer in League History.
As for other milestones, they're really no more major milestones left he could get that are realistic for him to get. With an aging player who turn's 40 in June, don't expect him to reach any other milestones, including 600 goals. He only has 28 points (15G 13A) and has been out of the lineup a handful of times this season, including the emergency appendectomy that kept him out for 2 and a half weeks.
With his contract about to expire, it would be the right thing to do avoid a Brett Favre situation of the constant questions and controversy of whatever or not he is coming back next season. It would probably benefit the team on the ice, even though watching the Dallas Stars will never be the same.
The Team needs to start getting players like James Neal and Jamie Benn chances to take on much bigger roles on the team and for some of them, to get chances like the role of being assistant captain and possibly head captain, a shot to lead the next generation of Dallas Stars players to get this team back to the Stanley Cup with a younger, stronger and fresher group of players that the team can keep together for a long time to come.
If he does retire, the rumors of him being part of an ownership group are interesting. It would probably be best for him to take on a small role to help promote the team, the sport and making sure it can continue to grow and prosper long after his playing days are over with.
In addition to helping the Dallas Stars being successful in the long term, he needs to make sure that Dallas Area Hockey Players continue to get chances in the Junior & NCAA Rankings with a shot for some of them to make it to the pros. Perhaps even have a local player get a chance to play for the Dallas Stars one day in the long term.(Maybe Austin Smith down the road?) Another big thing that would be great at the state wide level is to influence the University Interscholastic League (UIL) to consider adding hockey as a sport so even more kids across the state a chance to play hockey.
The other big area is to getting the Dallas Stars involved in major events in the future. Such as bringing the All Star Game back to Dallas, and getting the teams involved in the European Opening Weekend to start the season and to play in the NHL Winter Classic to help promote the team both across the country and around the world. Also getting a position to host major national and international events like the NCAA Frozen Four and the IIHF World Championships Events to come to Texas. This would give the state a chance to show itself as a true hockey state and one that can give a model to other parts of the country and the world to help grow the game.
One thing that the team should make sure that dosen't happen is that he changes teams, even for one year at the end of his career. I know players change teams all the time at the end of their careers, but he is among the last of a dying breed in sports where a player stays with one team for his entire career. After everything he has given the city to help build and promote the sport, it would be tough to take right now to have him end the career with someone else, especially if it's a big rival like the Detroit Red Wings or the San Jose Sharks.
In my view, this is the right time for him to leave with honor and respect from the fans that have gotten to know him over the last decade and a half. He should enter and leave the league is the least he could do for the fans. And the team that he's been with for his entire career going back to when he was the first overall draft pick back in 1988 by the old Minnesota North Stars. Would it be better for him to play at least a few playoff games, sure, but he has a great playoff career by scoring 145 points in 174 career playoff games (58G 87A). He's also been to 4 career Stanley Cup Finals in his career (2 in Dallas, 2 in Minnesota).
Regardless if he retires or not over the off-season. Use these last 2 games as if he is going to retire because once he does leave, the vibe around the Dallas Stars will be a lot different without seeing #9 on the ice. If you did go to the game last night against the Chicago Blackhawks or if your planning to go to the home finale tomorrow against the Anaheim Ducks (I'm going tomorrow night BTW), be sure you keep your ticket stub, get a game program or something to remember the night.
He will be honored long after his playing career is over from his number being retired to possibly having a statue outside the AAC one day (Think Nolan Ryan), these moments will be great, but let's savor his final moments in a Dallas Stars Uniform. If you can think of it, he's probably done it over the course of his career and he will never be forgotten in the Dallas Area. He has earned his spot among D/FW Sports Greats like the Dallas Cowboys Triplets (Troy Aikman, Emmit Smith and Michael Irving), Roger Staubach and Nolan Ryan around the Dallas/Ft. Worth Area.
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