[Big thanks to Gravypan for getting this news out ASAP in his FanShot]
"I’ve made my decision and I’m coming back to play," Modano said. "I think everyone eventually knew I was going to come back, but I still wanted to take some time and think about things. Watching everyone else playing in the playoffs helped push me to make the decision. This is the best time of year and we want to get back to playing post-season hockey next season."
"I think there’s a chance but I’m going to take this season-by-season and see how I feel," he said. "A part of me wants to keep coming back to play until they tell me they don’t want me to come back. I love playing the game. We’ll see how this coming season goes and go from there."
[UPDATE] Mike Heika has a few more quotes from Modano over at the DMN Dallas Stars blog:
"I don't think it was just me, I think it was the whole team,'' Modano said. "I think the injuries forced us into some situations that we wouldn't normally be in, and that's something that I believe will be different next season.''
When asked if Marty Turco being pushed to do too much was a good example, Modano said yes.
"Yeah, I think that's a good one,'' he said. "You look at that, and that was part of the problem all of last season. You go in with a plan, and all of the injuries changed so much. I think if we can be healthy and we can spread the load around, we'll be a much better team.''
Modano said his optimism about next season is one of the main reasons for his return. Well, his optimism about next season and his depression about last season.
"That's not the way you want to go out. I just think we're a better team than what we showed, I think we will be a better team next year.''
While there was always speculation that Modano would retire over the summer, I never really believed it as a possibility. There's no way that he would want to end his career after the way this past season went. And while he finished the season in a slump offensively he showed throughout the year that he still has the ability to make gamechanging plays, to dominate the ice with his speed and fluidity.
Mike Modano is still a key player on the Dallas Stars and will become even more needed when the young players in the system start making the jump to the NHL. His leadership and experience will become invaluable to the team next year.
Modano will be 39 years old this next season, and he has played an incredible amount of games throughout his career: he has played less than 76 games in a season just twice in 19 seasons. That's a lot of wear and tear on a hockey player. The trick is to be able to play Modano to his strengths, give the young players the ice time they need and not overwork Modano as much as he was this past season.
While Modano is not the player he was ten years ago, he is still one of the best two-way forwards in the NHL.
Great to have you back Mike.
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