The loss of "the face of the franchise" hit us all hard emotionally as Dallas Stars fans, but through one month it's hard to say that it's affected the team on the ice. The Stars' 4-0-0 start had some people suggesting the release of Mike Modano and Marty Turco had enabled some kind of beneficial change to the culture in the locker room, but since they've come back to earth at 6-4-0 it's business as usual with or without Modano. Apparently his impact is not being felt much in Detroit either.
I don't know about you guys but every time the Detroit Red Wings score four or five goals I click on the box score and hunt for Mike Modano's name. Nearly every time I come up empty handed.
Modano scored a goal in the Wings first game against the Ducks and hasn't registered a point since. He has somehow managed to dig himself a -7 in nine games on a team that is 6-2-1. He was a -6 total in 59 appearances with the Stars last season. He is averaging over four minutes of power play time a game but just under 14 minutes TOI/G total. That's a lot of power play time with nothing to show for it production-wise. His faceoffs have actually been a little better than last season (50%) at 53% with the Wings.
The third line trio of Modano, Cleary and Hudler is -16 on the season already.
Casey Richey from Winging It in Motown was kind enough to give us his thoughts on Modano's season through nine games...
More after the jump.
Modano started his time in Detroit with a bang, scoring a goal on his first shot in the red and white sweater. After that though, he's been unable to contribute a point and has gone relatively unnoticed in some games. However, the third line as a whole has struggled to find any sort of chemistry scoring chance wise. They've had a great defensive game but have combined for a total of 2 goals and 5 assists--less than Todd Bertuzzi has contributed by himself.
I don't think any of the fans are ready to throw him under the bus yet for his lack of production because he's been good in other areas (53% on faceoffs, some good defensive play, logging power play time at the point). Detroit fans are expecting some production out of Modano because of the offseason hoopla surrounding his signing but I think they're pretty patient at this point and know that it will take some time for him to adjust with Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler/Abdelkader alongside him. I think he'll step it up in the next couple of games though because Babcock has put pressure on that line to produce.[Winging it in Motown]
Nine games is a pretty small sample size for a guy that just left his team of twenty years, so don't give up on him just yet. Still, the Red Wing media is starting to take notice and Babcock is being asked awkward questions about his third line.
Modano told the Detroit Free Press, "We all had high expectations going into it, were really excited, talked about how big an impact the line could have," he said. "But we still feel we’re on the verge -- we have some opportunities, we’ve just had a stretch of bad luck defensively." [FreePress]
Ted Kulfan, a columnist for Detroitnews.com says "it wouldn't be shocking to see Modano sit soon if things don't change." [Detnews.com] He says it would just be for a game and could possibly benefit Mo as he tries to sort everything out.
I don't think any of us enjoy watching Mike struggle but it might help to ease the hockey consciences (like mine) that defended the decision to let him go. As a hockey decision it looks like a good one. The empty seats at the AAC suggest otherwise from a PR stand point.
Do you still miss him like crazy or have you moved on?