How did we get to the point where it became...complicated to talk about Mike Modano? The Dallas Stars’ greatest player is also one of the most important players ever to play any sport in Dallas. So it’s easy to count his decampments – to Detroit, to Arizona and now to Minnesota – as failures, either of his own or of the franchise he still represents.
Sean Shapiro took on the challenge of examining Modano’s impact on DFW sport for The Athletic’s 19 in ’19 series. And of course, the story is more...complicated than we often allow ourselves to think:
Modano was supposed to be like Roger Staubach and Dirk Nowitzki. Neither man left the franchise they defined as a player, and Dallas became their home. Eventually, the franchise and the player went hand-in-hand....
But Modano wanted to keep playing. He’s one of the greatest American players in NHL history and he was 41 games away from 1,500 played in his career. Even at 40 years old, he had earned the right to choose when – and where – he retired from this game.
And he would have stayed in Dallas, too. But the Stars were done with him. It was time to move onto the next era of the franchise, and hockey isn’t a game where a franchise hero can play a bench role. You can’t sacrifice a regular shift for pleasantries in the NHL.
What he found was a retiree who put his family first, and a franchise that had work that couldn’t wait:
Modano remained on good terms with the franchise after the move to Arizona. When Dallas hosted the NHL draft last June, he joined Jamie Benn to announce the Stars’ first-round pick to loud applause. Allison’s golf career was wrapping up, and he indicated he was ready to get back into the hockey business.
Fans held out hope that would be with the Stars, but earlier this year, Modano took a job with the Minnesota Wild. Some took it as a slap in the face, thanks to general online pettiness over who owns the history of the Minnesota North Stars. In a town where few pay enough attention to the Stars, local radio hosts wondered aloud about how Dallas could mess this up and let Modano work for another franchise. Roger or Dirk would never do this.
But Minnesota offered Modano a job the Stars didn’t have: He’s going to work in their community and advise the general manager on hockey operations. While the Stars gladly would have had Modano back to glad-hand fans, his playing resume didn’t convince them enough to immediately grant him some sway over roster-making decisions.
You can keep reading behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
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His goals are— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 30, 2019
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Around The League(s)
Where did it all go wrong for Paul Fenton and the Minnesota Wild? Michael Russo examines why the now-former GM lost his job after one season.
"Paul is a really strong, strategic scout, identifies talent, understands development, all of that, but there were parts of his role that just wasn’t working out to my satisfaction.”@RussoHockey on the Wild firing Paul Fenton as general manager: https://t.co/BhmQjNn8SF— PHWA (@ThePHWA) July 31, 2019
The Wild now need to move quickly, and Elliotte Friedman brings news that they are.
Have to think there will be more than one contender, but word is MIN has already reached out for permission to speak to Ron Hextall for newly vacant GM position.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) July 30, 2019
Chris Kunitz has hung up his skates, but he will step directly into a new role with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Chris Kunitz retires but will remain in the Blackhawks’ front office as a player development advisor https://t.co/d1wXbx1GxD— SI NHL (@SI_NHL) July 31, 2019
Have you stopped losing sleep over the Colorado Avalanche? Here, let me fix that.
The Avs are almost certainly going to lose a better player to Seattle than they did to Vegas, but that means that the building blocks for a bright long-term future in Denver are more than adequate.https://t.co/fCHVF6w95B— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) July 30, 2019
Meanwhile, in Calgary, an arena deal is done – in what many believe to be unseemly haste.
BREAKING | Calgary city council has approved a deal with Flames owners to help finance new arena and event centre https://t.co/sWpbyoLjvE— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) July 30, 2019
First it was Ty Dellandrea’s gluten-free diet. Now Edmonton Oilers prospect Raphaël Lavoie has sworn off clown food. You kids and your hockey....
Good thing Joe Pavelski still has plenty of time to get his training camp on. Enjoy.