Mike Modano spent a pretty rough season in Detroit following his departure from the organization where he made a name for himself. Totalling just 40 games due to a serious hand injury and literally having no interest in the long journeys that come with playing in the Western Conference, it may seem like the greatest American-born scorer in the NHL has finally reached the twilight of his career.
Clubs are looking to build for the future…
It’s highly unlikely though that any club would be looking for a 41 year old centre coming off a play-off stint where he was a healthy scratch. Clubs are looking to build for the future; rather than investing a small but still significant chunk of their salary into a veteran, a younger and faster player has become the emphasis.
Mike Modano’s hesitation to announce his plans for the upcoming season might surely hinge on the fact that this new NHL is no longer looking to older heads to guide a ship full of fresh talent. The poster-boy of the NHL, Sidney Crosby, and his immediate counterparts in Jonathan Toews and Alex Ovechkin, all captains of their respective clubs, are symbolic of the fact General Managers are looking to invest for the long-term. Players like the once great veteran captains such as Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman and Raymond Bourque are no longer welcome in this playground where those in the springtime of their careers are dominant.
…may be time for him to follow their path by retiring…
Modano enjoyed a spell as the Dallas Stars captain before they moved into their current transitional period. Enjoying playoff appearance after playoff appearance with Sergei Zubov and Jere Lehtinen as his lieutenants, it may be time for him to follow their path by retiring – in Lehtinen’s case literally and with Zubov retiring to the KHL in Eastern Europe.
It’s hard to paint a picture of the greatest players of any sport. Wayne Gretzky almost single-handedly introduced California and a lot of the West Coast into the NHL. Similarly, Mike Modano helped to raise the profile of the game in Texas, a state where the Dallas Cowboys come first and foremost. An NHL ring to his name and the Star’s favourite son, the iconic image of Modano flying down the ice with his shirt rustling in the wind is something that may never be replicated.
Image courtesy of Mike Modano