Mike Modano Working Hard to Return from Appendectomy

Mike Modano is 39 years old. He had an appendectomy a month before the end of the regular season; A regular season that was, to be honest, pretty far gone at the time and even more so now as he pushes hard through his rehab.

So the media as a whole is (finally) asking a lot of questions about Mo. Why is he pushing hard to get back? A (semi) major surgery that late in the year on a guy who turns 40 this summer? Why would he rush? And the logical conclusion anyone can draw from the evidence presented is "because he's not coming back next year. This is the end." He doesn't want to end his career with an appendectomy and a 5-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, right? The less popular answer is that he's a competitor and he loves the game, which he is and he does.

I tend to believe him when he says he hasn't made a decision about next year. A whole slew of "will they or won't they?" famous athletes have wavered and waffled and gone back and forth, desensitizing the sports-consuming consumer to the point of apathy and/or extreme skepticism, but I don't recall THAT many hockey players among those ranks. (Probably because ESPN doesn't care beat us over the head with it, but I digress...). I think those who know Mike, or feign knowing Mike, would agree that if he retires, that's apt to be it.

If I were him, looking at the condition of the S.S. Tom Hicks, I'd say that boat is sinking and will continue to do so for at least one more year before it gets sold.

Which isn't to say I wouldn't like him back...

As far as I'm concerned, the dude has some usefulness left in him, and even a carrot or two dangling in front of him that might keep him going. Outlasting Keith Tkachuk would be one. Another would be 15 more NHL points. 15 NHL points separate Mike on the all time list from being right next to his buddy Brett Hull.

21. Brett Hull 1,391 points
22. John Bucyk 1,369 points
23. Mike Modano 1,355 points

 

I don't know if Modano is aware, or even cares about such a thing, but I've had my eye on it this year. It would be fitting for him to come to rest at #22 right behind Hully. The two of them together on the all-time list, at least for a while, would warm my Stars heart.

Other than thought, unless it's for shear joy of playing the game, it's hard to enumerate many reasons for returning. His declination of a trade at the deadline at least tells us that going somewhere else to win another ring is probably not on his mind. Mike's a Dallas guy, through and through.

Along with Marty Turco, this news is bringing every Dallas media type by the Stars storefront to browse as they pass by for their yearly visit, and it's only going to get worse as the end nears.

Here's a smattering:

Kevin Sherrington over at the Morning News decided to field some hockey questions (?):

Is this Mike Modano's last year?
Haven't asked him, but I'd guess it is. The club is struggling, the prospects for next year don't look much better, and he's already made it clear that he didn't want to be traded to a contender. He and Marty Turco will both be gone. Now that's a regime change, isn't it?

Dbd-sm_medium

Jean-Jacques Taylor descended upon the press box at the AAC on Sunday to prepare for his bi-annual hockey opinion...

It's time for Marty Turco to go.

He knows it, as do the Stars. We all do.

This is not about whether it's time for Turco to retire. It's not. He's good enough to help a playoff team make a lengthy playoff run.

It's just time for him to leave Dallas.

With the benefit of hindsight, it's clear the Stars should have traded or released Turco once they decided not to extend his contract, especially with a new general manager and coach sending the franchise in a completely different direction.

With the benefit of following hockey every day of our lives, the rest of us know that it wasn't the easy.

Dbd-sm_medium

And then mercifully to the rescue comes our regularly scheduled program, the greatness of Mike Heika talking some real hockey...

"I thought about it, definitely," Modano said. "It's been on my mind all year, but it's not time to make a decision yet."

Modano said that he would talk with Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk after the season and then come to a decision.

"But, yeah, you definitely think about it," Modano said. "I mean, I don't want to end my career sitting out with appendicitis. That wouldn't feel right, so maybe that has something do with it. I want to come back and play well, because it might be the end."

Modano probably would be working this hard to get back even if he had another year on his contract. It's what he's done throughout his career. He said playing for former coach and GM Bob Gainey as a young player toughened him.

"I remember to start with, the least little thing would put me down," Modano said. "But then Gainey would be all over me and asking stuff like, 'Are you hurt or are you injured?' You had to pretty much first figure out what he was saying to you and then realize that there

Modano skated in Frisco on Monday and worked out off-ice as well. He will not join the team in Nashville tonight but could possibly be join them at a later date on the road trip.

Dbd-sm_medium

I've been waiting for the deluge of Modano farewell speculation since we hit 2010. Then I thought it would surely come during the Olympic break, but it didn't then either. That the traditionally non-hockey media descends upon these stories now is predictable and probably necessary, but feels a tad belated. He's the greatest, most accomplished sports figure in the city, hands down. If not the fact that he didn't want it, he should have been given the farewell tour treatment for longer than what might be the last 4 or 5 games of his career.

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