Lost in the all the chaos of a sudden firing of Marc Crawford, Dallas Stars head coach, is the many exploits of Mike Modano these days. We kept tabs on Mo early in the season and tracked his progress with great interest but when it became clear that there wasn't going to be much in the way of progress, we lost touch a little. Then he got injured.
His return from injury has been even less effective than he was before, even with that mid-season rest and a very talented cast of characters surrounding him on that team. For those reasons and more he told ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett this week that this is probably the end for him.
"My body has been telling me and so has my head," Modano said. "I knew that if the body wasn't doing things on the ice that I was accustomed to doing, it was time to move on. There are subtle signs that I've gotten that it's only going to get worse. I can't stay on the ice as long as I used to, things like that."
When he left Dallas no one doubted his ability to contribute to an NHL team. His last game here was incredibly productive and his 30 points in 59 games was not totally discouraging, but that dropped to just four goals and 15 points in 40 games in Detroit this season.
The end result of this experiment was that a competitive man like Mike Modano needed it to tell him what he needed to hear. He wasn't happy with the way things ended here (Who would be, from his point of view?) and he wanted to end things on his own terms. It's just a shame to see him reduced to a healthy scratch for game one of the playoffs, and it's a shame that he needed to wear that jersey to come to this decision.
In the end it will be all but forgotten like other silly sojourn's into unfamiliar territory. No one's going to remember Emmitt Smith for playing with the Cardinals and no one is going to remember Mike Modano for playing with the Wings.
Now he'll come home, to his real home. Dallas. Just in time? Mike could still be a valuable (token) addition, marketing-wise, to an ownership group that might some day emerge from this cloud of secrecy and finally buy this thing. Otherwise he could still be added to the organization in some capacity, and he can do what he's always done so well: Sell hockey in Texas.
Public opinion shifted rapidly from "Oh they can't possibly let Modano go!" to "I'm glad they let him leave, he was obviously causing friction in the locker room and now he decided to go to the Red Wings," etc. I think we all look forward to a day soon where all that is in the past and Modano is a member of the Dallas Stars community once more. He still needs a statue, after all.