The night was Oct. 5, 2007. A crowd of 18,632 had gathered inside the then-six-year-old American Airlines Center.
"I'm just standing there during warm-up, by the bench, taking it all in," Milan Lucic is reflecting, a dozen years later. "Mike Modano's over there and his hair's flowing. Just … flowing.
"Exactly like you saw on TV.
"He had that special jersey-flow going, too, remember?
"Playing in that big arena in Dallas was something. Obviously, coming from junior rinks to a place like that, you almost felt you were inside a football stadium.
"I'm 19 years old. And I remember thinking: 'This is pretty darn cool.'"
The Boston Bruins' second pick of the previous summer's draft, 50th overall (Phil Kessel had been selected fifth), logged six minutes and 53 seconds that night.
No surprise, he also got into his first NHL fistic spat with Brad Winchester of the Stars 2:45 into the second period, only a face-off removed from Shawn Thornton and Todd Fedoruk being incarcerated in the penalty box after finishing a knuckle tango of their own.
The Bruins lost 4-1.
Eleven further season openers, 888 regular-season games and a Stanley Cup ring later, the hulking left-winger marks NHL game No. 900 tonight at the Honda Center in Anaheim.