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Pacific: Rested Modano surging for Stars

by John Kreiser
Mike Modano is the last reminder that the Dallas Stars used to play in Minnesota. He holds almost every career offensive record in franchise history, and he's not done yet.
Modano showed there's still some life in his stick by scoring twice in a 3-2 win against Colorado on Jan. 29, and he added another in a 4-2 win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Modano has scored seven of his 13 goals this season in the past 10 games -- in large part because coach Marc Crawford has given the 39-year-old occasional days off from practice.

"It's been a good stretch," said Modano, who added an assist against the Wild. "I feel like I'm getting some good looks on net, and some quality chances and shots have been finding their way through legs and the goalies. So it's been a good run, I'm feeling a little better, opportunities have been following me around, rebounds have been there, some guys have made some good passes to free up some shots, so it's been a good half-dozen games or so."

Modano now has 556 regular-season goals, tied for 23rd on the NHL's all-time list with former Boston Bruins great Johnny Bucyk. With 2 points against Minnesota, Modano has 1,353 in his career, pulling him into a tie with former Montreal standout Guy Lafleur for 24th in that category. 

Modano had the winning goals against Colorado and Minnesota, giving him 92 for his career and moving him into a tie for 10th all-time with Jeremy Roenick, Teemu Selanne and Mark Messier.

Crawford has noticed the rest has put some more pep in Modano's step.

"It makes a difference for him," he said. "Mike's going to be 40 years old this year. He has really good instincts for the game, he's still got a real creative mind, and he's such a good skater that he gets by. We have to manage him as best as we possibly can and I know he appreciates the time off."

So long, Jiggy -- It's never easy bidding farewell to a player who's led you to a championship. But that's what the Anaheim Ducks did Sunday when they sent goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere to Toronto.
Giguere won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2003 when he led the Ducks to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against New Jersey, then was in goal four years later when the Ducks won the only championship in franchise history.
But he had lost the No. 1 job to Jonas Hiller, and when the Ducks signed Hiller to a new four-year contract, Giguere's time in Southern California was over.
"Obviously, I want to thank Jiggy on behalf of the organization," Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray said after the deal, which brought back goaltender Vesa Toskala and forward Jason Blake. "He single-handedly took a team to Stanley Cup Final in '03, won a Cup in '07. He's been a leader on and off the ice in the community and a wonderful player and person in our organization for a number of years. We wish him nothing but the best."
Coach Randy Carlyle echoed Murray's thoughts.
"Giguere did an unbelievable job for this organization. He represented it first-class both on and off the ice," he said. "He worked extremely hard. If there was a model that the organization would like to create, we'd like every player to have the same impact Giguere has had on this organization."
Murray said the deal should work out well for Giguere and the Ducks.
"Jonas deserves to be a No. 1 goalie," he said. "Jiggy deserves an opportunity and this way they both get an opportunity to be a No. 1."

Unheralded, not unappreciated -- San Jose's signing of forward Jed Ortmeyer last summer was one of those transactions that slips under the radar -- players whose career high in goals is five don't get a lot of attention, especially when they played just two NHL games the previous season.
But with the current season two-thirds gone, the addition of Ortmeyer has turned into a coup for Sharks GM Doug Wilson.
Ortmeyer entered Wednesday's games with 7 goals and 15 points, excellent production for a player from whom little was expected this season. He has more than earned the confidence of coach Todd McLellan.
"It's been a while since the coaches had confidence in me to (make a play and score)," Ortmeyer told the Sharks' Web site. "It's the combination of the coaches and the system. I think the system here is more upbeat and attacking. I have more of an idea what to expect from my linemates."
Ortmeyer spent most of last season with Milwaukee, the Nashville Predators' AHL affiliate. He wasn't thrilled, but said that in retrospect, it might have been a good thing.
"It was a tough, long year for me," Ortmeyer said. "I could have approached it differently and made it a negative, but I used it as a positive to work on my game and play different roles. If I was (upset) and pouting and not taking advantage of the situation, I would probably still be in the minors."
McLellan said spending time in the AHL was a valuable lesson for Ortmeyer.
"The NHL was taken away from him," McLellan said. "... He knows how easy it is to lose."
Road-ice advantage -- Now that they've proved they can win on the road, the Los Angeles Kings have to prove they can do the same at home.
The Kings completed a perfect 5-0-0 road trip with back-to-back 3-2 wins at Boston on Saturday and New Jersey on Sunday. That gave them 19 road wins, as opposed to 14 at the Staples Center -- the biggest road-home disparity in the League.
But the Kings have had trouble on home ice. They went 3-4-0 on a seven-game homestand that preceded the perfect trip, but started a stretch that will see them play five of their next six at home with a 2-1 win against the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Coach Terry Murray said prior to Tuesday's game that keeping things simple was the key.
"The home games are a time not to put on a show," Murray said. "It's a time to keep it simple, to do the little things, to stay on the same page, to do the same shift after shift, every shift. That kind of an attitude, we're starting to learn that.

"With that kind of an attitude, the consistency of performance starts to be there, and you do have good results at home. That's all that we can do right now, is talk about the importance of bringing that to us."
Murray had to be delighted with his team's performance in the defeat of the Rangers -- a game in which the Kings allowed New York just 21 shots on goal.
"It was a tremendous effort," he said. "The players take that into the room at the start of the game. They understand that there's a responsibility to come out and play hard. We knew we would have a good crowd here tonight, and we have to make sure that we're bringing that road attitude back home here after a tremendous road trip."
Around the Pacific --
Anaheim got a lift Monday with the return of forward Teemu Selanne, who broke his jaw when he was hit by a shot Jan. 13. Selanne, wearing a football-style face guard, not only played in the finale of the Ducks' six-game road trip, but had a goal in Anaheim's 3-0 win. .... Jason Blake, who never put up the kind of numbers in Toronto that he did on Long Island, was happy to be dealt to Anaheim. "This is a great opportunity," he said. "You look at the guys -- there are a lot of great players here. You just want to jump in there and do your best." ... Phoenix took a big hit when forward Scottie Upshall, the Coyotes' top goal-scorer, went down with a knee injury that will require surgery. He'll likely miss the rest of the season ... Dallas missed its latest chance for its first three-game win streak of the season by losing to Phoenix on Sunday. The Stars haven't won more than twice in a row all season. ... San Jose rookie Jason Demers became only the third rookie defenseman in franchise history to score 2 power-play goals in a game when he did it Saturday against Minnesota. The others are current Shark Dan Boyle and Doug Wilson, now the team's GM. ... The Los Angeles Kings will donate $200 per player to the American Red Cross relief operation in Haiti for every win this month -- up to $4,800 per victory. The Kings Care Foundation will match each contribution.
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