An Ode to Mike Modano

The most prolific scorer in American hockey history announced his retirement on Wednesday. Mike Modano made it official via his Facebook page, with a press conference scheduled for Friday.

After the North Stars left in 1993 (and a period of denial), I found myself a Dallas Stars fan. We had no team yet in Minny, so I had to follow someone. We had NHL Center Ice for a few years, and I watched most of their games…including their Stanley Cup run in 1999. I was emotionally involved.

I am a Mike Modano fan, even though most Minnesota hockey fans have or had a strong dislike for him due to his anti-Minnesota statements when the Stars left. My wife is was a big fan as well, although for other reasons. He has pretty white teeth and nice scruffy.

Chances are good this misspelling at the X was done purposefully.

Modo is a polarizing kind of guy. He always has a bit of a cockiness to him and some people don’t like that. He’s the kind of guy you need to take with a grain of salt. But you can’t deny the success he had in his career and what he meant to the NHL. He retires with the most goals ever for an American-born player, won one Stanley Cup and was runner up twice. He is single-handedly responsible for turning Dallas into a pretty successful hockey market. I would have liked to see him finish his career in Dallas, to play his whole career with one team. I also said I would have liked to see him in a Wild sweater last year, but I guess I can’t have it both ways…so he signed with Detroit. His stint as a Red Wing was injury-filled and I’m sure not what he wanted when he decided to play last year, but when you think about his career you’re probably not going to even think of last year, almost like it didn’t happen. I’ll think of him as a Dallas Star or a teeny tiny North Star.

I salute you Mike Modano. I’ll miss the hair in full glory during warmups and the jersey flowing in the wind as you flew by everyone on the ice.

Full Glory

Modo's Hair in Full Glory

Good luck with your golf. We’ll all be following on the Twitter.

Modano's Sendoff at the X

Sendoff at the X

Glass Half Full

Wild v. Stars – 2-7-08 – A View from Bison Creek Bar and Grill
I was in and out of the game tonight. I missed the entire 1st periond except the quick Mike Modano tribute. More on that later. I saw the second and most of the third. So, take that into consideration in reading my musings.

Wild lose tonite 1-0. What I saw was actually pretty entertaining for a 1-0 game. Good kill of a minute of 5 on 3 in the 1st, another 4-minute penalty in the 2nd, and alot of good chances offensively. Something called Mike Smith was in net for Dallas as Turco was hurt or sick or something. Smith was great, stopping Marian Gaborik on a breakaway in the 2nd and again on a point blank opportunity in the 3rd. Even though we scored no goals, the pressure was pretty steady throughout what I saw.

Dallas’ goal came early in the 3rd perod on what looked like poor defensive positioning by the Wild defensemen. He will remain nameless (ok, it was Skoula). Somehow a 2 on 1 developed and Skoula looked confused on who to take, and Niklas Hagman put a move on G Niklas Backstrom for the goal. The sequence was frightingly similar to the Sharks goal earlier in the year where Skoula misplayed the puck and Jonathan Cheechoo moved around Backstrom to put in the game winner.

Still, the Wizzy had their chances; just couldn’t get anything past Smith. They played a pretty solid game given the potential it had to be down after the Detroit loss. The crowd was loud tonight on the KSTC, especially after they killed the 4:00 and put some great pressure on Smith to closeout the 2nd period.

Modano “Tribute”
The Mike Modano tribute was nice and all. It wasn’t a big ol production, which was probably the way it should be. The crowd was quite polite, which is good. I was a little worried some boo-birds would be sprinkled in with cheering, but it was predominately cheering. Good work X!

For those who didn’t see it, after the national anthem P.A. Announcer-Guy read off some stats MoDo compiled and announced that he is now the #1 American-born scorer and MoDo came out onto the ice, waved to the crowd, got some pictures taked of him, Phil Housley (#2 American-born scorer and Minnesota native) Brad Bombardir (not sure why he was there), and a print of Met Center Memories, a painting by Terance Fogarty. Good enough.

The only weird thing was it happened so fast and Mike was back on the bench, while P.A. Announcer Guy was still talking. Just had a feel of akwardness.

The Fight to the Hang the 1st Banner at Xcel
With the Wild’s hot streak seemingly over, it will absolutely be a fight to the end in the Northwest Division. 1 point up on Colorado, 2 up on Calgary. The KSTC graphic told the story. 28 games left, and the last 8 games of the season are against the NW division. Yikes!

Calgary lost to Chicago tonite and Colorado was off so we stay in 1st. But Vancouver beat Atlanta, so they’re only 3 points back.

Next on the Docket – Islanders @ Wild – Sat 2-9-08 – Hockey Day Minnesota
It’s Hockey Day Minnesota on Saturday! We have hockey all-day on FSN beginning at 10AM. First it’s Eveleth v. Lake of the Woods on Baudette Bay. It’s gonna be cold for that! Then it’s St. Thomas Academy v. Hill Murray at the X. Wild v. Islanders at 5. Goofers at Denver at 8. Then a tape-delay of Blaine v. Roseau on Baudette Bay. That’s a full day of hockey!

I really enjoyed last year’s Hockey Day Minnesota, and I’m looking forward to Saturday. Make some time to take some of it in, especially the HS games on Baudete Bay. Just like last year, I’ll be in attendance in section 216 for the Wild game, and I’m expecting a bounce-back game against the terrible Islanders. I’m going to this one with a psuedo-Islanders fan, so it should be a good time. Wild 5 Islanders 2