DALLAS - OCTOBER 14: Mike Modano #90 of the Detroit Red Wings faces off against Mike Ribeiro #63 of the Dallas Stars on October 14 2010 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Good to see you in town again tonight. You're looking well and that's nice to see. Granted it's still a little jarring to see you in red, but ya know you make it look.. well not good, but not as horrible as I first envisioned it would be.
As you may have been able to tell, you're still cared for here and... I know it makes us sound a little desperate, but we do really hope that once you're through this Detroit Red Wings phase of yours, you'll be part of the Dallas Stars family once again because as we've heard for what feels to be a million times the past few days, the fact you're not with the Stars now seems wrong in so many ways.
But, you're with them now and while we loved seeing you back in your old stomping grounds complete with the jersey flowing in the back (but not flowing quite as softly behind you as it has in past years I might add), we loved seeing our team beat the new guys you skate with now to a tune of a 4-1 win.
In a way while it seemed like a cruel joke when the NHL schedule maker first booked this game for this night and for the home opener, this maybe was the best thing that could have happened to the Dallas Stars. It allowed you to make your 21st Stars home opener as Razor Reaugh so deftly pointed out in the broadcast and even better you were able to finally be on the ice as the Stars won their third game in a row for the first time since George W. Bush was in office.
A few things have changed since you last wore Dallas silks...
For one, you'll recognize the goalie we have. He was with us at the end of the season last year you'll remember and it turns out, those hopes all of us had for the guy - mainly the being able to backstop the team to wins while staying healthy - seem to be working out well so far. I think even you Mo have to admit that you guys got a little fortunate with that call you drew in the third period to put you guys on the powerplay for your lone goal of the game.
Part of me actually liked seeing that by the way Mike... Dropping the stick as it got tapped by Brad Richards and drawing the penalty. Turns out, you can still draw a favorable call in Dallas you sly devil!
But yeah, Kari Lehtonen was great tonight and the one goal he did allow was nearly a ten bell blocker save that he did at least get a piece of. We're quite happy with him so far!
You'll also notice the defense is... well it's a little better at least. We still allowed more shots (26 to the Stars15) than I think we would have liked - especially in the third period again - but overall most of those shots you guys took were from distance and as you saw first hand Mike, your offense wasn't given much room to operate or get second chances with. Of course, the defense was probably motivated to play strong against the measuring stick that is the vaunted Red Wings offense. You can tell they were motivated by the fact that even Matt Niskanen had an assist, had five hits in the game and even more importantly no giveaways! (And don't think we didn't notice you catching a peek at his new stylish goatee Mike! We agree, it's very striking on him!)
Of course you're very familiar with our offense I'm sure. Brenden Morrow had another goal tonight and is on pace for something like 109 goals this season and he got help from Mike Ribeiro again on the play which has pretty much been the case for all four of Morrow's goals. Ribs by the way if you hadn't heard Mike had a little bit of a legal issue a few days ago... We're just glad he didn't offer to bribe the cop a billion dollars like Belfour did! Ha, remember that Mike?? Such great and goofy times we shared!
Anyway, James Neal got a nice contract over the summer - one that I kinda hate to admit may have not gotten done had we worked something out with you instead Mo - and tonight he scored his first goal of the season, so maybe that's just the hockey gods way of showing that in the end this whole separation between you and us will work out for everyone. Brad Richards also had a goal and two helpers and he's on pace for 137 assists this year which we're sorry to say might finally help him beat your all-time season points record, but we still won't forget you so don't you worry about that Mike!
And in the end, that is what tonight was kind of all about. Red Wings fans who barely want to acknowledge that there are 29 other NHL teams didn't get it and would just like to assume that the Dallas Stars discarded you like a cheap, broken down Ford, but we both know better right? You wanted to keep playing the game you love and we needed to "move forward" to borrow an automobile slogan. While the Red Wings may have the luxury of giving ice time to a 14 goal scorer, we in Dalls didn't and I think those of us that thought this thing out with our heads instead of our hearts understood that. You remember Fabian Brunnstrum right? Well he still hasn't seen a second of ice time this season in a Stars uni and he makes a little less than you salary wise so... ya know... It's not just about you.
To sum up, I know you have a flight to catch so we'll bid you a fond farewell... Not as fond as we did back in March of course, but still parting is always such sweet sorrow and we know we'll see you again three more times this season. Take care of yourself and we all really do wish you nothing but the best with your new pals in Detroit.
As for us here in Dallas... Well, again tonight we saw we have some ways to go yet but the Dallas Stars record is still spotless at three wins and no losses. It might be a tad early to say this yet, and honestly we hope you don't take this the wrong way Mike, but...
We're doing quite fine without you.
Your DBD Three Stars:
1 - Brad Richards - Dallas
2 - Kari Lehtonen - Dallas
3 - Brenden Morrow - Dallas