DETROIT – It’s been nearly three years since Mike Modano skated in a Stanley Cup playoff game.
Unfortunately, the veteran center will have to wait another day, as he will miss Game 1 of the Red Wings’ Western Conference quarterfinal series against Phoenix Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Wings coach Mike Babcock discussed his decision with Modano, who helped the Dallas Stars win the Cup in 1999.
“This morning I talked to Mike and he explained it to me,” the 40 year old Modano said, referring to Babcock. “I totally understand it, and it’s up to me now if I get the opportunity to give him a reason to not take me back out.”
Modano has played in only 40 games this season, much of the missed time stemming from a wrist injury that occurred when he was slashed on the right wrist by a skate blade in November. All that missed time likely has a factor in Babcock’s decision.
“It’s been a difficult year, a difficult season,” said Modano, who has 58 goals and 87 assists in 174 career playoff games – all with the Stars franchise. “I played a lot catch up in the spring, and trying to get up to these guys, but at that point the team was pretty solidified in their lines and everything was going. So you needed to do something extraordinary to get in there, so if that chance comes you try to take advantage of it.”
For Babcock, sitting the all-time leading American-born point scorer, who has 21 seasons of experience under his belt, cannot be taken lightly.
“It’s a huge decision,” Babcock said. “In the end, to me it’s not about Mike Babcock or Mike (Modano) or anything. It’s simply about the Red Wings and we’re going to do whatever we can to help ourselves win.”
Modano finished with regular-season with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) and a minus-4 rating.