The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/16/11 at 04:35 AM ET
Red Wings forward Mike Modano finds himself watching today’s game between the Wings and Phoenix Coyotes from the locker room as Mike Babcock’s chosen to go with a healthy lineup (that or give Modano, who’s hit a bit of a conditioning wall after returning from a severe wrist injury, some time to regain his confidence), though some who’ve followed the story of the former Dallas Stars captain who can’t seem to keep his thoughts to himself from the start might argue that Babcock’s decision has more to do with Modano’s willingness to admit to everyone within earshot that he’s going to retire at the end of this season, regardless of how far the Wings’ playoff run goes.
In that vein, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel chose to speak with Modano earlier this week about his decision to sign with the Wings for what turned out to be an injury-shortened season, all while suggesting that the only somewhat open secret that Modano will return to Dallas and probably join the Stars in some capacity when the Wings’ playoff run is over is still something we’re only supposed to pretend isn’t going to happen.
Modano says he’s still happy with his decision to leave Dallas to play for his hometown team…
“I’m glad I did it in the sense that it was a chance to play for a great team, a great organization and a chance to play close to home,” Modano said in a phone interview on Monday. “If I hadn’t done this, I would have always wondered; so in that sense I am glad I did it.”
He knows he is not a big part of the Detroit Red Wings, and if they win a Cup they will do it with him and not because of him. Unlike one year ago when Modano sounded indecisive about whether he wanted to retire, he no longer has the tenor of a man who can’t make up his mind. He is 40, and this is it.
“That is it, probably,” he said. “That’s how I thought about the year when I signed. That this would be the last run that I’d have. I knew there was that chance. But I wanted the chance to play near home [he’s from nearby Livonia, Mich.] and a good organization and around a lot of good players.”
But Modano still feels somewhat conflicted about leaving the Stars, mostly because the team and GM Joe Nieuwendyk essentially suggested that Modano’s presence, “C” on his chest reduced to an “A” included, wasn’t helping the organization move forward, and informed him that if he wished to play for one more year, he would have to do so elsewhere:
“There is a lot of sentimental value for me there; that was really tough to let go and play for another team,” Mo said. “I thought there was enough to warrant another year. If I felt this team had no direction, I would have left years ago.”
Modano also says that, for the moment, anyway, he’s comfortable with the concept of the fact that he returned too late in the season to reclaim his role as the team’s third-line center:
“By the time I came back, the team was defined, and I’m trying to get back in the mix, and they were rolling as they were,” Modano said.
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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.