Whether or not Modano’s announcement includes a Red Wings’ sweater, Holland will be relieved, either way.
“I’ve been told by the Modano camp – him and his agent – that by the end of this week they’re going to have a decision,” Holland said. “Certainly, it will be good to know whether Mike is a Red Wing, or Mike is retiring, or he has chosen to play in another city.”
According to a report in Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News, Modano, who grew-up in Westland, Mich., has decided to play next season for the Red Wings. Modano is currently on a golfing trip in Scotland with friends, including former teammate Marty Turco, who on Monday agreed to terms on a one-year deal to play for the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The 40-year-old Modano visited with Holland and coach Mike Babcock in early July. The trio had lunch in suburban Birmingham before taking in a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park. Modano has also had conversations with the Minnesota Wild and San Jose Sharks. But the Red Wings are the only team that he has visited.
Holland has been waiting on a decision by the former Stars’ captain before he signs a pair of his own restricted free agents – forwards Darren Helm
and Justin Abdelkader
“I’ve been patient, I guess, because it’s not like we’re saying, ‘We need a player and if it’s not Mike Modano we’re sitting on the sidelines and players are moving,’” Holland said. “We’re probably going to go with Helm and Abdelkader anyway. I just thought that when Mike Modano hit the market on July 1 that it was a unique situation, because he’s a local Little Caesars’ player that is one of the greatest American-born players ever, and he can still skate.”
While Modano’s advanced age concerns some, it isn’t a factor for the Red Wings. Consider that they won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and ’98 only after older players like Slava Fetisov and Igor Larionov joined the club. They won again in 2002 after Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille joined the mix, and the same was true six-years later when Dominik Hasek and Dallas Drake returned.
“We’re not expecting them (older players) to come here and do all of the heavy lifting,” Holland said. “When Hull and Robitaille came here, (Nicklas) Lidstrom, and (Steve) Yzerman and (Sergei) Fedorov, and others were in the prime of their careers. Hull and Robitaille could come here and be real good supporting pieces, and we could play to their strengths.”
The same offer has been made to Modano, who played in 1,459 games for the Stars’ organization – both in Minnesota and Dallas – and netted 557 goals and 802 assists. He ranks No. 23 in NHL history for points scored (1,359) and No. 13 in game-winning goals (91).
“When you look at our team today, the heavy lifting is really done up front with Zetterberg and Datsyuk, and on defense Rafalski and Lidstrom, Kronwall and Stuart,” Holland said. “The Modanos, (Chris) Chelios, (Todd) Bertuzzis, they just have to come in and really just be real good supporting pieces.
“These players come in and accept a little bit of a lesser role. They want an opportunity to compete for the Cup. As a player, and as a fan, the biggest thing that you can have is hope. And if everything goes right, we can go for a long playoff run, and that’s one of the reasons why they come here, because we provide hope, we provide potential that if everything goes right we can go for a long run.”
The Red Wings visit Dallas on Oct. 14 when the Stars play their home opener at American Airlines Arena.