Mr. Dallas Stars himself, Mike Modano spent two segments with the Bob and Dan radio program yesterday on Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket and as you might imagine, the subject of his retirement and future was featured heavily.
There was a series of golf related anecdotes, a series of nauseating compliments on the Detroit Red Wings organization, details of his wrist injury, and an amusing bit of information about how their plane needs to re-fuel in Nebraska before heading all the way to San Jose from Michigan (really, Detroit?) among other things.
The BaD radio boys finally delved into the elephant in the room. Would Mike like to play next season? Dan started his line of questioning with an assumption and said "You don't want it to end with that injury, right? You would play again?" and Mike responded in quite the opposite manner.
"I don't know. I think that was the swan song," Modano replied. The tone of his voice struck me on both he first and second listens as quite telling. You may want to give it a listen if you're having trouble believing him. If Twitter was any indication many people did.
"So do you want to make your official announcement of your retirement right here?" asked Dan McDowell...
"Not yet," came the quick response.
He did say these kinds of things last summer, but not quite this late on the cusp on August. Bob and Dan tackled that too, reminiscing that last summer they had been sent YouTube footage of a shirtless Mike Modano running and training hard prior to his Detroit signing. Had he been running up any hills this morning? The response came quickly again "No. No hill running."
In what might be a symbolically ironic turn, the conversation quickly switched to his golf game and his nerves on the putting green.
He also added that if it was nearly anyone but Detroit calling last year, he would not have come back. Perhaps that's the most telling thing about his decision to be made soon. If it took Detroit, a team he clearly holds in very high esteem (everyone does in the league) to get that one more year out of him, where else is there to go but down from there?
"I think I had to do it. I think I would have just really kicked myself if I didn't take the chance to go there."
Bob and Dan tried several more times to point out that he didn't seem to be trying to talk them out of retirement talk and he made no comment. For all intents and purposes yesterday he sounded like a guy who's happy with his station in life and is ready to call it a career (but there's always a chance. Don't be surprised...). He said he is interested in working with the Stars in the future. He said he's not interested in being ambassador of fun, nor is he interested in being a general manager some day, but that a role with the team as a meaningful face [my inference, not his words] of Dallas Stars hockey is hopefully in the offing at some point.
Somewhat unprompted, he opined on the teams current situation. "It's a mess here. You've got a team that's way overvalued and they ["the lenders"] don't know anything about hockey and they don't know how it's going to unfold." [..] "There's a lot of stuff to fix once you kind of pull back the layers on it."
"There's a lot of wounds that probably need to be healed with a lot of corporations, a lot of sponsors, a lot of season ticket holder people, and that will take time." He went on to liken it to the Blackhawks situation and the apathy there four or five years ago followed by a change of ownership and philosophy leading to a huge resurgence in popularity and profitability.
"If you've got stability and people at the top who are smart and are making good decisions, and they're stable... and they're not looking to make a lot of money in hockey.. because you don't make money in sports. You have to have some other deal going on." He went on to reference Mike Ilitch in Detroit, who owns Little Caesars Pizza as his "other deal." Another good example is Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban loses millions on the Mavericks every year but supplements it (presumably) with other business interests. We talk about the need to accept losing money as a sports owner all the time but it's somewhat refreshing to hear someone on the other side of things make mention of it.
Here's to hoping that the ownership situation gets squared away quickly, Modano retires, and whoever owns the team makes him one of their first phone calls.