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Modano admits tonight could be Dallas finale

Thursday, 04.08.2010 / 11:42 AM / Player Profiles

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Modano admits tonight could be Dallas finale
Mike Modano hasn't dismissed the idea that Thursday night's game against Anaheim may be his last home game for the Stars.
When Mike Modano steps onto the American Airlines Center ice Thursday night, he knows it could be the last time he does so in a Dallas Stars uniform.

Or any uniform for that matter.

"This could be it for me," Modano said this week. "I'll be thinking about that."

The 39-year-old center hasn't made anything official just yet, but this could be the end.

The eight-time All-Star and member of the Stars' 1999 Stanley Cup championship team has reached a crossroads in his career. He's no longer an offensive force, no longer a guy who can be counted on for 30-goal seasons.

The Stars have a wealth of talent at center, too. Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro are unquestionably the team's top two centers, which is why Modano plays mostly on the third line and is no longer receiving major minutes.

Plus, Modano isn't under contract for next season.

Between his age, diminishing playing time and lack of a contract, there are a lot of reasons to think this is it for him.

"I think I'll have to contemplate it. I'll really have to sit back and think about what I want to do. Do I want to try it another year, go through the summer's training getting ready for another year? Plus, I have to worry about a contract. So, there are some different variables playing into it than (previously)."
-- Mike Modano

"I think I'll have to contemplate it," Modano told NHL.com of his decision. "I'll really have to sit back and think about what I want to do. Do I want to try it another year, go through the summer's training getting ready for another year? Plus, I have to worry about a contract. So, there are some different variables playing into it than (previously)."

If this Modano's last hurrah, he's leaving behind quite the legacy.

Besides the All-Star appearances and the Cup, Modano is the most-prolific scorer among U.S.-born players in NHL history with 556 goals and 1,357 points in 1,457 games. He's the Dallas Stars/Minnesota North Stars all-time leader in games played (regular season and playoffs), goals, assists and points.

He's spent 22 years with the same organization, a rarity in any walk of life.

Dallas' season -- and perhaps Modano's career -- will end Saturday in Minnesota, the city where Modano made his debut as an 18-year-old and played four seasons before the franchise relocated to Texas.

He still has plenty of fans and family in Minnesota, so it could be a fitting end to a brilliant career.

  MIKE MODANO
  C - DALLAS


Goals: 556 | Asst: 801 | Pts: 1,357

"That will be emotional for me," Modano said. "It's a hard decision to make."

And management isn't rushing him for that decision.

"Mike has earned the right to figure out what he wants to do," Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk told NHL.com. "There is no question that he has a lot of game in him."

Modano, at the very least, has two more games left in him for sure. And Thursday night could be the last chance for Stars fans in Dallas to appreciate him for all he's done.

On Fan Appreciation Night at American Airlines Center, no less.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter at: @DLozoNHL
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