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Sleepless in Traverse City

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
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TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – On the opening day of the Red Wings’ training camp, Mike Modano admit that he felt like a young kid again.

“It was tough sleeping last night,” Modano said. “It felt like a first or second camp for me; fresh start, new beginning, so I was a little nervous, a little anxious to get up and get started.”

Modano, who spent his entire 20-season NHL career with the Dallas Stars’ organization, looked at home Saturday morning with his new Red Wings’ linemates – Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler. Still, there’s work that needs to be done, Modano said, like building chemistry.

“Getting comfortable with what everybody likes to do, and try to find some common ground,” Modano said. “Dan’s a real up-and-down kind of guy, and Jiri’s kind of adlibs a lot and works on the play that is coming to him. But I’m just trying to flow somewhere in the middle, just trying to be supportive of the wingers and defensemen and making life easy for them.”

Even though Modano was held to 27 goals in 93 career games against the Red Wings, some of his new teammates are glad they don’t have to stop him anymore.

“All the time you played against him, he was tough player to play against,” Niklas Kronwall said, “but he just flies out there. Every time he’s on the ice, you can just see the jersey on the back just in the wind. It definitely feels good to have him on our side.”
The 63 players in camp this week are broken into three different groups – Team Howe, Team Lindsay and Team Delvecchio. Modano, 40, is skating with Team Delvecchio, which lost in the camp’s first scrimmage, 5-2, to Team Howe, which featured the Wings’ top forward line of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. Zetterberg had an assist.

The Modano and Datsyuk line went head-to-head throughout Saturday’s scrimmage, which consisted of two 30-minute periods with running time.
“It felt like old times again,” said Modano, of going against Datsyuk’s line. “It felt great. It was fun, obviously, playing against those guys. I felt better than I thought I would.”

Though Modano didn’t figure in either of his team’s two goals, one of his linemates did. Cleary redirected a shot from Nicklas Lidstrom in the first period.

“We had some good rushes, some good chances today. It’ll get better,” Modano said. “It was nice to scrimmage and get some traffic, get some bumping and get some timing down. It’s finally good to get back to that area of the game.”

SATURDAY’S SCRIMMAGE: Team Howe got first-period goals by defenseman Brendan Smith (though it was credited to Zetterberg), left wing Jordan Owens and defenseman Marc Zanetti en route to a 5-2 victory in Saturday afternoon’s scrimmage at Centre Ice Arena. Left wing Francis Pare and Tomas Holmstrom (empty-netter) rounded out the scoring for Team Howe.

Cleary and defenseman Travis Ehrhardt scored for Team Delvecchio.

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