If you were concerned that April 8th, 2010 wasn't going to be as meaningful as it seemed that night, you might be relieved to know that it was indeed Mike Modano's last home game of his career in Dallas.
The only problem is that it might not be his last home game period.
After a couple of months of speculation on that front, the Stars finally came out and said it plainly: They will not be offering Mike Modano a contract. Mike Modano has played his last game as a Dallas Star.
"I truly understand how the fans feel about Mike and we all appreciate what he has done for this franchise," he said. "But all players have to face this day; Emmitt Smith is a perfect example, as is Joe Montana, Troy Aikman or Ray Bourque.
"I know what Mike is going through. When you turn 40 and you face the end of your playing career, it is very hard to let go. I don’t blame him for being undecided and possibly wanting to continue. But this is a hockey decision and we feel it is in the best interests of our roster. I stand by that and I believe that." [Dallas Stars.com]
Between the obvious dissatisfaction from a few of you regarding the draft, the Krys Barch contract, the impending drama with James Neal (that we'll get to later) and now this, it's safe to say that Joe Nieuwendyk is not the most popular person in Dallas these days.
This is just another in the long line of impossible situations he must deal with in this busy time, nearly all of them created by the unceremonious plop of the Tom Hicks ownership cowpie hitting the proverbial fan. Or is it? As much as people may think money is the motivating factor here, it's more of a log jam at the position. The problem is the guys waiting in the back of the line. Should they trade other centers away and lose them forever for just one year of a Mike Modano farewell tour? That's probably not the best decision for the club going forward and Joe knows that.
"We have a good number of young guys who are hungry and ready for bigger roles on our team. That’s a big part of this decision. These players are ready to step up and play important minutes. We need them to continue their improvement and development if we are to get to where we want to be as a hockey club." -Dallas Stars.com
Still, this is a very tough sell. This is not a matter of money. The reality is that the Stars are simply moving on from the Mike Modano era, possibly before Mike himself is ready.
There will be a press conference at noon today. (Presumably carried on the Ticket, not sure about that)
See our previous discussions on this here: