It's July 16th, and every day we go without seeing any smoke on the Mike Modano front, the less believable it becomes that there is any fire to be found. The free agent frenzy has long since passed and while there are still teams that need to spend a little money and fill some holes in their lineup, we've yet to hear even an eighth of the buzz on the Modano front that we heard last summer.
Last year at this time the Sharks, Wild and Red Wings were all said to be interested, with some courting him more than others. There were other offers our there. Definite interest. If any of the same exists this time around it's not even being reported as discredited rumors on Twitter.
The Red Wings are probably out of that market, and all signs point toward a likely retirement, but keep in mind that he didn't sign last summer until the first week of August. There is still time to make a decision on starting preparations for camp in mid-September.
He's given a token "in a couple of weeks" response to the few that have asked him, and even said (sarcastically) that if someone else has the money [to buy the team] that he would make the decisions. The nonchalance makes many hopeful of retirement and an end to this non-Dallas nonsense that riddles the end of his spectacular career, but does the fire still burn within him?
In April he basically told ESPN that the end was near. "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."
Later on it turns out he's undecided after his season ended, and who can blame him? Hockey players in this league spend quite literally their entire lives either in-season or preparing for the next. To say that letting go is difficult is understating matters quite a bit.
Complicating things even more are the ownership proceedings that just won't get truly going. If there were a clear path to that resolution he might be more involved, or at least see a path to re-joining the organization off-ice. As things stand now it's possible he's just as helpless of a spectator on the ownership front as the rest of us.
So lost are Stars fans in Adam Pardy, Brad Richards, Tom Hicks and Sheldon Souray that we forget the greatest Star of all and the possibility of his career coming to a close in the midst of all of this change. We might spend more time talking about how Michael Ryder will fit in with Morrow and Ribeiro but the biggest story of the summer where franchise history is concerned could be coming in the next 10-14 days, depending what Mike's decision is.
He's currently playing (very well) in a celebrity golf tournament in Tahoe where he is among the leaders, beating Brett Hull and Tony Romo, who tries annually to make the U.S. Open when apparently he can't beat 40-something year old hockey players.
What do you expect him to do?