Well, here we are. 1 more home game and 1 more road game and this could be it.
Man, I hate goodbyes. Especially when it might be for Mike Modano.
I have tried to talk myself into this continuing next season. I mean, after all, shouldn't an icon of a franchise be able to set his own exit strategy?
Not so much. Not in this world of sports where teams must sell their fans on the future as well as the past.
I love #9. I am a huge fan of every thing he did here, and doggone, he did plenty.
You can go in a number of directions. His many plays in the playoffs that saved the day and were amazing. His skate in on the goalie, slam on the brakes, and slam the puck home as the goalie slides to the side.
I also remember many other moments. Ruslan Salei sending Modano into the boards at Reunion Arena and leaving Modano motionless on the ice. Modano, countless other times, skating frustrated back to the bench after being tugged down with no call.
And like everyone else, I so enjoyed seeing him in full flight with the jersey flapping in the wind behind him.
Mike was not only this franchise's best - by a mile - but he was the United States' finest. As one who appreciates my "Team USA" hockey, I cannot forget the fact that he rose to the top of that group as well.
As I have said a dozen times, Mike Modano was perfect for a city like Dallas. Maybe there were better players, but there wasn't anyone more perfect for selling Texas on this game.
He was American. He was good looking (so they tell me). He was the best player on the ice - even if you were watching your first hockey game, you could tell he was the best player and surely the most electrifying.
I know everyone with a keyboard is going to write about Mike Modano in the next little while. But, I wanted to offer my full respect to the man's great contribution to this franchise this week.
Think about it. We all feel like Dallas is the exception to the rule when it comes to the NHL in the sun belt. In many of the cities, it has only been an unqualified success in years where those teams win the Stanley Cup. But in Dallas, the Stars have generally been well supported and followed. I submit to you that is a result of the instant magnetic force that Mike Modano and some of his friends had on the city.
Many franchises did not become one with their cities. I am pretty sure that those teams did not have an iconic figure, either. Some teams get lucky to get a Sakic, Yzerman, or Modano. If they do, they are smart enough to lock him up for his full career. And then they build him a statue, retire his number, and thank the hockey gods that it worked out.
He wasn't just a great player in Dallas. He is hockey in Dallas. And, there may not be a strong hockey franchise in Dallas if not for #9.
Which brings us to this summer. Do the Stars want Mike Modano back? Does Mike Modano want to still play in the NHL? Would he consider playing elsewhere if the Stars move on? Might this be a premature goodbye discussion altogether and #9 still skates with the Stars in 2010-11?
I hope so. But, the disappointments of the last 24 months might suggest a full reboot. And that might mean turning the page, even on a franchise player.
Just in case this is it, we all need to be prepared.
Mike, you are and always have been money. Thanks for the decades of awesome-ness. And if this is it, I hope 18,532 send you off with a proper ovation.
Email Bob at Sturm1310@aol.com and follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/bobanddan
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