Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It's official: Mike Modano's Time in Dallas is over

It was just reported then confirmed on the Ticket just moments ago that the Dallas Stars will not offer Mike Modano a new contract when he officially becomes a free agent on July 1 this week. This officially marks the end of an era in Dallas as he is not just the last part of the 1999 Stanley Cup Team, but one of the most respected and longest serving athletes in the history of D/FW and helped bring the sport of hockey to Texas as it is today.

Since then, they are 4 Junior Teams in the NAHL, Three AHL Teams that are affiliated with the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild and Phoenix Coyotes right now. He has the team marks in just about everything imaginable. It's sad that GM Joe Nieuwendyk couldn't find a way to make it happen. But unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end.

However, this is a team that needs a new identity and needs to get back on track to make the playoffs and start getting a new owner in Dallas to get out of this money problem that has the Stars operating on a tight budget and unable to go after big time free agents and big trades to help this team right now. Also younger players like Jamie Benn, James Neal and prospects like Scott Glennie and Philipp Larsen need to start getting ready for bigger roles on the team to make the team successful.

Sports Radio 1310 has learned that they will be a noon Press Conference to officially announce that Mike Modano will not be returning to the team. As for Modano's future, he will look to see what kind of deals will come from free agency throughout the month of July. If he doesn't get a deal that suits him, he may announce his retirement later this summer.

Mike Modano Profile with the Stars: http://stars.nhl.com/club/player.htm?id=8449645

Other Stories on Mike Modano's Release

Dallas Morning News: Amazing Numbers: www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/hockey/stars/stories/063010dnospomodanofacts.ee7bda07.html

Dallas Morning News: Nieuwendyk Releases Modano:

WFAA: www.wfaa.com/sports/hockey/stars/Dallas-Stars-cut-ties-with-Mike-Modano-after-20-seasons-97402719.html

WFAA, Pressure to be the Main Guy is Gone

Press Release from the Dallas Stars Website: http://stars.nhl.com/

The Dallas Stars have decided not to offer center Mike Modano a contract for the upcoming season.

"We have the up most respect for Mike Modano," Nieuwendyk said. "He will always be a huge part of this hockey club. He is a great teammate and a great person. Mike is the face of this franchise. That's what makes this decision so hard."

Nieuwendyk and the hockey staff have had many meetings internally over the last few months about the team, roster and identity - for now and moving forward. He has also met with Modano several times to discuss his future since the season ended.

"Mike is unclear on whetever he will retire or not, and still may decide to play next season. After assessing our roster and where we need to go as a hockey team, we have decided not to offer Mike a contract and allow him to explore free agency on July 1. If Mike decides that he would like to play with another team, we support his wishes. That's part of the reason behind the timing of this announcement; we wanted to be upfront with Mike and give him the option to explore playing for other clubs on July 1 if he chooses."

Nieuwendyk feels it is time for the younger players to take on bigger roles in the forward lines.

"We have a number of young guys who are hungry and ready for bigger roles on the team. That's a big part of the decision. These players are ready to step up and play important minutes. We need to continue their improvement and development if we are to get to where we want to be as a hockey club."

Nieuwendyk said that this decision did not come overnight. It was reached after many discussions and reflection.

"This is as though decision as a GM can make, but it comes with the job. I have to put the team first and what I feel is in best interest in the team. Again, I have the up most respect for Mike. I spoke with him about this decision yesterday in length."

While Modano's playing days as a Dallas Star are over, Nieuwendyk is very interested in having him involved with the hockey club in the front office.

"I also feel that Mike needs to be involved in our franchise," he said. "While I think it is time for him to stop being a player for the Stars, we plan on talking with our future new owner about a role that would best fit the interest of Mike in the org. We're not sure what that is yet, but I can tell you what Mike to be very involved. When he is ready. If he is going to play for another team, we want him to return to the Stars when he is finished and remain a large part of what we do."

Nieuwendyk understands that this is not a popular decision and some fans will be dissapointed.

"I truly understand how the fans feel about Mike and appreciate what he has done for the franchise," he said. "But all players have to face this day; Emmitt Smith is a perfect example, as is Joe Montana, Troy Aikman or Ray Bourque.

"I know what Mike is going through. When you turn 40 and face the end of your playing career, it is very hard to let go. I don't blame him for being undecided possibly wanting to continue. But this is a hockey decision and we feel it is in best interest of our roster. I stand by that and I believe that."

Nieuwendyk knows what Modano means to this franchise and said what we all feel.

"We wish Mike the very best and thank him for his incredible contributions to the Dallas Stars. There will never be another Mike Modano. It is our goal to have him continue doing great things for this franchise in the front office, and we look forward to making that a reality someday."

Modano is the Stars franchise leader in several statistical categories, including games (1,479), goals (557), points (1,356), power play goals (156), shorthanded goals (29), game winning goals (92), shots (4,194), and highest +/- (+43 in 1996/1997).

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