The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/07/11 at 11:09 PM ET
Red Wings forward Mike Modano has sounded like a man who’s uncertain of his hockey-playing future, and he confirmed as much to the Sporting News’s Craig Custance, suggesting that a long playoff run will be good enough for him even if the Wings don’t win the Cup:
f the Red Wings advance to the Stanley Cup Final this spring, regardless of the outcome, Modano will retire this summer.
“If we got there and we won or lost, I’m done,” Modano told Sporting News. “That’s my feeling on the whole deal. Hopefully it ends that way one way or another.”
There’s a cloud hanging over the upcoming NHL playoffs: this may be the last chance the hockey world gets to witness some of the best players of their era, playing at the highest level. As a player, there isn’t a more ideal way to end a career. Lift the Stanley Cup, do a lap around the rink and skate into the arms of your family after your final game. It has to be a consideration for more than just Modano and [Boston Bruins defenseman Mark] Recchi. Future Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom has been quiet on plans beyond this season, and as a Norris Trophy candidate, continues to play at a high level. But if the Red Wings win the Cup, is there really another reason for him to return next season?
Modano agrees with Ken Holland’s theory that playoff experience is practically currency at this time of year…
“It’s great for composure; it’s great poise for the team,” Modano said. “You can control when things get frantic, get crazy on the bench and on the ice. There’s always that sense of calmness that hopefully trickles down through everybody.”
But these players haven’t risen to the top of their game without a nasty competitive streak, which raises another scenario: What if there’s a first-round upset, and this season ends on a bad note? That could be just the motivation to come on back.
“You have a lot more time to think about it then and time to maybe rest up and heal up,” Modano said. “If that happens, you take a little harder look at it.”
I don’t think that Lidstrom’s going to retire this summer, regardless of the Wings’ playoff result, but that’s based upon a gut feeling and the fact that he’s admitted he still feels healthy and is enjoying playing the game. Modano’s enthusiasm for going through another summer’s worth of off-ice training, another training camp, exhibition season and 82-game grind, it seems to waver depending on the day.
In fact, Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika delivers fine proof of Lidstrom’s playoff enthusiasm:
• Maybe Nicklas Lidstrom really is human. The 40-year-old Detroit defenseman seems like a model of emotionless efficiency, but he said this week: “I still get excited to hit the second season, as we sometimes call it, when the playoffs start, and I still get a little bit nervous. I still get the jitters.” Nervous? The jitters? Still? Lidstrom?
He’s still enthusiastic as can be, whereas Modano seems very war-weary.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.