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Mike Modano reflects upon his decision to sign with the Red Wings

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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Comments

Avatar

I wouldn’t say I’m surprised by Modano’s decision, but at the same time,  I think he could have had a pretty good go next year if he had chosen that route.

He basically sat around this summer, until he made his decision for 2010-2011.  His freak injury slowed him down even more.

I think if he would have trained like Cheli this summer, and committed to working harder during the season for 2011-2012, he could have become a factor. 

He’s certainly earned the right to retire, though.  Good luck to him.

Posted by sean on 04/16/11 at 05:11 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

I said on RWBrasil this week, and I’ll say it here again: I love stuff like “Win it for [Someone]” Cup runs. Sure, win it for Hossa was a huge fail (mainly because he thought he could piggyback his way to the chalice), but win it for Drake, or for Hasek (and Robitaille), or even Ilitch or Konstantinov, I have a feeling those things help motivating the team.

For some reason, even if he already has his championship, this season started out a bit as win it for Mo, with all the chatter and the flirting with Ilitch and stuff, and he was the prodigal son coming back for one last run, and he was the one supposed to receive the Cup directly from Lidstrom’s hands.

That said, with Modano’s lack of effort and latest comments, and Bertuzzi’s newfound heart, that’s the guy in the end “Let’s win it for ...”.

And let’s agree, win it for Modano is just not as cool as “Let’s win it for the Tuzzi”.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/16/11 at 09:29 AM ET

Chet's avatar

my message:

mo, please stfu.

you are one of the finest, if not THE finest, american-born hockey players of all time, yet every time you talk to the media lately, you tarnish that legacy.

we know about your injury, but we also know you showed up in detroit looking pretty soft. whether you ended up as, or always meant to be, an out of shape hitchhiker, this is the playoffs and you’re a hall-of-fame healthy scratch. that clarifies for me that you have no pride or respect left for yourself, and you likely never had much for the detroit red wings.

please place your ego in your back pocket until the team you never fully joined decides how this playoff season plays out. and, if i wasn’t clear thus far, zip it.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/16/11 at 10:29 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I do think Mo is showing a lack of judgment and class by talking about retirement and all before the playoffs end.  it shouldn’t be about him right now, it should be about the Red WIngs, as Uncle Mike has said.  Probably the biggest reason he’s on the bench.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/16/11 at 01:23 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

Dude couldn’t win a puck battle, a faceoff, hit anybody, or actually get his shot on net. But other than that, he was fine….

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 04/16/11 at 02:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/16/11 at 08:29 AM ET

THIS.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/16/11 at 06:35 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.