And it’s that connection to the local hockey scene, which have created buzz and suspension surrounding Modano’s visit with Red Wings general manager Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock on Tuesday.
“We’re flying Mike Modano in for today,” Holland told DetroitRedWings.com. “Mike Babcock and I are going to spend the day with him.”
The Wings’ officials plan to lunch with Modano, and they will also attend Tuesday’s Tigers-Baltimore Orioles game at Comerica Park.
“I think Mike Modano is going through the process of whether or not he wants to play again,” Holland said. “If he does want to play again, obviously, because he’s a local hall-of-fame-to-be player, who we think has some hockey left in him, we have interest.”
Modano, 40, played the last 16 seasons in Dallas. He was the No. 1 overall draft pick of the Minnesota North Stars in 1988. The franchise moved to Texas in time for the start of the 1993-94 season.
Modano, a native of Westland, Michigan, just outside of Detroit, is the all-time points leader among U.S.-born players with 1,359 points in 1,459 career games.
The Red Wings honored Modano before a Wings-Stars game in February 2008 at Joe Louis Arena shortly after the three-time Olympian set the new American points record.
Before that game, Modano said, “I was pretty surprised and honored at the same time. They’ve always been a real class organization and Little Caesars has always been good to me throughout my career and my life. But being from Detroit, it was quite a thrill to have them going out of their way like that.”
On Tuesday, Holland said he had no problem going out of the way to see if the Wings and Modano would make a good fit. Even at 40, Modano is a tremendous skater, who would be a welcome addition to the Wings’ third line between Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler
. Modano would also make an impact on the team’s second power-play unit.
“You’re talking about a guy, who is one of the greatest American players ever to play with one franchise,” Holland said. “Do you want to finish your career with another team, and I think that’s one of the things he’s going through.
“Now it’s a little unique in the sense that this is his hometown; this is where he was born and raised and his parents live here. It’s an opportunity for him to finish his career in his hometown and playing in front of family and friends. But again, at the end of the day, everything has to piece in together.”