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Custance: if the Red Wings reach the Cup finals, Mike Modano’s done

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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Comments

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, I agree with you about Nick Lidstrom.  I have a gut feeling that he’ll go when Homer goes, and Homer has one more year on his contract.  The two of them are close friends, commute to “work” together, and have that awesome chemistry where Nick shoots and Homer deflects it into the net.  Quite a duo.  I find it hard to imagine that Nick would retire while Homer is still playing.  But that’s totally just a gut feeling.

As for Modano, I think he was a great addition to our team.  Had the worst luck in the world with that horrific injury.  But he can be a great contributor during the playoffs and he needs to keep in mind that his former team, which informed him that his services were no longer needed, is probably not going to make the playoffs.  So I hope he’s glad he signed with the Wings.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/08/11 at 12:19 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Oh, and… MICHIGAN WON ITS FROZEN FOUR SEMI-FINAL OVER #1 SEEDED NORTH DAKOTA TONIGHT!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/08/11 at 12:19 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I agree with you 100% Homer and Nick are carpool buddies, their kids have played youth hockey together and we tend to forget that they’re basically the Swedish version of Draper-Maltby-Osgood. It would be very appropriate for the two to go out at the same time.

I can only hope that Homer convinces Lidstrom to stay in the U.S. as Homer wants to become a U.S. citizen.

After all that’s happened to Modano this year, he seems to be genuinely torn as to whether he wants to return next season, and it does seem to affect his on-ice level of interest at times. We need him to be plugged in and playing like there’s no tomorrow when the playoffs begin.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 04/08/11 at 01:23 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

After all that’s happened to Modano this year, he seems to be genuinely torn as to whether he wants to return next season, and it does seem to affect his on-ice level of interest at times.

Nah.  That’s just Modano.  The injuries would be a convenient excuse to use if it weren’t for his having an established history of it over the last 4-5 years. 

I’d hoped the new room, and the leadership in it, would help him buy in more but it doesn’t seem to have.  I think I’m still in favor of bringing him back, but only for offensive depth in the playoffs (where he’ll be plugged in) and I’d be in favor of him sitting 30-40 games that the youngsters play instead.

Of course, that’s just today.  Most days, I’m ready to say bon voyage to Drapes, Modano, Salei and potentially Rafalski (he’s just not worth his cap hit with his growing, glaring defensive liabilities and injury risk).  Bring on the youth movement, give Abby and Eaves more offensive responsibilities, and give us cap room for once.  Homer still has value (and I love the guy too much to ever wish he’d be shown the door) but I’m not sure he (and Bert) are worth their reputation calls at this point.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 04/08/11 at 04:10 AM ET

Avatar

I’ll have to agree with Craig ... win or lose, if they get to the finals & MoDo’s done. He had enough interest in this season to score just one goal before his injury. If I were Fil I’d be more than pissed of at him.

I also agree that Lidstrom will be back for another year ... and if its just 1 more then they may want to bring up Brendan Smith for the 2011-12 season so he can learn a few things from Captain Nick while he’s still here.

Only problem with that theory is ... Janik’s 2nd year of this contract is one way, so he either makes the team or gets exposed to waivers before being sent back to G.R.

Either way ... Salei is a goner.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield on 04/08/11 at 04:43 AM ET

Crater's avatar

Only problem with that theory is ... Janik’s 2nd year of this contract is one way, so he either makes the team or gets exposed to waivers before being sent back to G.R.

Either way ... Salei is a goner.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield on 04/08/11 at 03:43 AM ET

I personally don’t see that as a problem. Janik was only brought in the play in GR and be a depth oh shit guy, He has done that, but I didn’t ever see them intending to let him play in Detroit. I hate to say it but these 1st year two way deals are becoming Hollands way to trick players into coming to the fold, where they end up in the minors or hitting waivers and going to some other team. Good news for them is if they clear atleast they make NHL monies for AHL quality.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 04/08/11 at 01:58 PM ET

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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.