Well when the season ended back in Mid April for the Dallas Stars up in Minnesota. Their was a strong possibility that his Stars career would end where it began just over 20 years back in April. Now it's made official that the face of hockey in the state is moving on after 21 seasons with both the Minnesota North/Dallas Stars Franchise, the team is going to have to look for a new identify, a new direction and looking for new ways to succeed.
For Mike Modano, part of me wants him to retire to preserve the fact that he would play his entire career for one team as I got a chance to see his final home game back April 8 against the Anaheim Ducks. The huge ovation he got during the 3rd period, scoring the game tieing goal that got the game to OT, then scoring in the SO.
All the great moments from the team's debut, the great playoff moments from getting to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1999 and 2000 to winning the whole thing that long and tiring night in Buffalo in June of 1999. Also as a final respect to the team and the city that cheered for him for the last 17 years. Knowing that he won't be getting revenge or looking for any more milestones or possibility winning a 2nd Stanley Cup after back-to-back Cup Finals in 1999 and 2000.
This would be a good time for him to retire, he just turned 40 years old, theirs not much left for him when it comes down to milestones. He currently has 557 goals in his career which puts him in the 500 goal club. At his rate in recent years, it would take a long time for him to reach 600 even though he's only 43 away from that milestone.
In addition to the Stanley Cup, he also won the Silver Medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City as well. Most players usually retire in their late 30s/early 40's so he's pretty much on track right now. After just recently turning 40, this would be a good time because of where he is in his career. Not good enough to play in the Olympics again, another milestone mostly unlikely, but he will always have the memories and the fact that the number 9 in Green & Gold will always be remembered in the D/FW Area.
On the other-hand, I could also see him play again. Because of his lack of major injures in his career and on some nights, even this past season, he's still can bring his moments of magic that can turn games around and help support young players as they pro careers are just starting up.
If he could find a spot where he could be a strong 3rd line center on a team that could possibly be looking to win a Cup next year, it would not be surprising for him to comeback for a year or two. Every player has that fire to get all their can out of their careers. Whetever it's milestone, one more shot at a Cup or for love the game if nothing else.
For Stars fans, it will look weird not seeing him in a Dallas Jersey next year. This was just Like when Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Roger Stabuch or Nolan Ryan left their teams in D/FW Sports History. It happens to everybody at some point and fans may not like, but teams need to move on with a new group of players that's looking for their success and chances to win championships in the future.
Right now the Stars don't have just a lot of prospects and the ones they do have like Scott Glennie and Philipp Larsen need to start getting involved in the system. As for players like Jamie Benn, James Neal and Kari Lehtonen, their time is now to have a strong new group and bring hockey glory back to D/FW that we haven't had since 2008 when the team reached the Conference Finals. Their time is now and the spotlight will be on them now with Modano gone.
I congratulate him on all he's done from the Stanley Cup, the Olympic Silver Medal and he will always be a part of the Dallas Stars moving forward. He still got great moments to look forward to, like getting his jersey retired and being voted into the Hall of Fame. He will most likely be with the team's front office at some point after his playing days are over, regardless he decides to play next season or hang em up this summer.
So in conclusion, they is life beyond Mike Modano for Dallas Stars fans, also get a chance to learn about the up-and-comers to the club like Jamie Benn and James Neal as we will get to know them better in the future. Eventhough it may be tough and painful right now. When you look back at up, they will be still a lot of great moments to look back.
But at the same time, look forward to a new generation of Stars and more chances to see Stanley Cup Titles and maybe an event like the Frozen Four or the World Junior Championships that could come by here as the sport continues to grow in the future.
It's sad to see Modano, but never forget all the fun and success he had in his time as the face of the team.
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