Mike Modano's name is synonymous with the Minnesota North Stars and the Dallas Stars. Modano was drafted 1st overall in 1988 by the then North Stars, the same draft that included NHL stars such as Trevor Linden (drafted 2nd by Vancouver) Jeremy Roenick (8th by Chicago), Rod Brind'Amour (9th by St. Louis), Teemu Selanne (10th by Winnipeg), Mark Recchi (67th by Pittsburgh), Tony Amonte (68th by the New York Rangers), Rob Blake (70th by Los Angeles), and Alexander Mogilny (89th by Buffalo). Modano holds the record for career goals by a U.S.-born player with 557 to go along with his 802 career assists, for a career total of 1,359 points in 1,458 games entering Dallas' season finale against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. Modano is also a 3-time U.S. Olympian, 6-time NHL All-Star, and Stanley Cup champion with the Dallas Stars in 1999 (sorry to any Sabres fans that may read this).
If this is the end of the road for Mike Modano, it's been a great ride. I'm lucky enough to have seen such a class act play the game he loves ever since I started watching hockey. I'm too young to remember the days of the North Stars, but every time I hear the name Mike Modano on TV or see videos on Youtube, I will think American hockey icon, U.S. Olympian, future hall of famer, Stanley Cup champion, NHL all-star, Dallas Star, and Minnesota North Star.
Another sellout crowd will gather in St. Paul, Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center on April 10th for the Wild's last home game of the 2009-10 season, in what could possibly be the end to an amazing NHL career that started in Minnesota before it moved on to Dallas. It would be a fitting end if Mike Modano's last game ever took place back where it all started, in the State of Hockey. Those in attendance will definitely cheer a class act, despite playing for the opposition. In this situation, it's not about the name on the front of his road white jersey, it's about the name on the back of his jersey, what it has meant to the state of Minnesota, the city of Dallas, and what it has meant to American hockey. If this really is the end of it all, thanks for all the memories, Mike. The State of Hockey will miss you, Dallas will miss you, USA hockey will miss you, and NHL fans around the world will miss you.