“I think that was the swan song.”
Words from Mike Modano’s mouth on 1310 the Ticket on Thursday, following a resounding “I don’t know” when asked if he would be returning to play next year. Mike hasn’t worked out yet for the 2011-2012 season and hasn’t spoken to any teams.
As all of the faithful Stars fans know, Mo went to the Red Wings last season to play his 21st season, but only played 40 games when he was sidelined after a bad injury due to a skate incident against Columbus. On his return to health it was hard to crack the line up again.
“When I came back in March, there’s the heated race for the playoffs, the lineup is almost solidified,” Modano said. “And (Wings coach Mike) Babcock is pretty hard-headed when he likes something and it works. It’s very hard to change his mind. So I knew I was going to be the odd-man out for the playoffs.”
While some fans saw his departure as a slap to the face of the people of Dallas and all of the Stars fans who have followed the team since their move to north Texas, you can’t blame Modano for wanting to play another season even if that season was cut short by misfortune.
“I think I had to do it,” he said of playing for his hometown team. “I would have really kicked myself if I didn’t take the chance to go there, play in Detroit, play with those players, be around them daily. (GM) Kenny Holland was great, the coaches were great, the Ilitches. Playing in front of the family, being around them all winter long was great. I saw the parents twice a week. I thought if I didn’t do it … I could say I tried it, at least I could say I did it.”
Mo maintains that should he take up another job in hockey it will definitely be in the Dallas front office and his permanent home will still remain near the team that he brought to relevance. However, he does seem a bit nervous about what all actually goes into such a position, especially after watching what happened to Brett Hull in his brief stint as co-GM and watching the front office of the Wings; there is obviously a lot of thinking that has to go into taking a job like that.
“Some guys are built for that job,” Modano said of being a GM. “From the outside it looks great, it’s a nice job and you’re paid good, but there’s a lot of work to it, and there’s a lot of hours spent and a lot of guys you need to answer to. … In Detroit, being around Kenny, knowing (Steve) Yzerman a bit, seeing how things unraveled with Brett (Hull) here, you watch and learn a little bit.”
“I’ve talked to the guys who are interested in buying Dallas and we’ve had some good talks. That’s something we could talk about down the road. That would be fun to do.”
And then came the parting words that will echo in all of our hearts for the next 2 or so weeks:
“See you in a couple weeks for the big announcement.”
At the end of the day whether Modano plays one or two more years or retires and takes a job with the Stars organization, he is still the one and only Mike Modano of the Dallas Stars, arguably the greatest US-born hockey player and is one of the biggest contributing factors to why the Dallas Stars are going to remain in Dallas; he built the fanbase, he won the cup and he has garnered respect for hockey in general from the football crazed inhabitants of the great state of Texas.