Thursday, November 8, 2007

Modano easy to respect

For nearly two decades, Stars' center Mike Modano has thrilled crowds with his tremendous skating combined with superb skills on the ice while starring for the only franchise he's known.
Last night in a 3-1 win at San Jose, the 37 year-old Michigan native scored twice to become the all-time leading U.S. born scorer, surpassing Phil Housley with career point No.1,233 in spectacular fashion via a shorthanded breakaway beating Sharks' netminder Evgeni Nabokov for the second time in the first 4:24 of the opening period.
He previously had tied Housley's U.S. mark 2:19 in with a long slapper to give his team a lead they would never relinquish.
The former Minnesota North Stars' first overall pick back in 1988 certainly was very excited to finally get it over with.
"The longer it's drawn out, the more it's forced me to appreciate the situation
and enjoy it, start having some fun
," the franchise Star expressed
afterwards to the AP last night. "I think it's kind of dragged me down a little
bit emotionally thinking about it every night, going out there and trying to
make it happen. The two tonight couldn't have been written up any better with
the first two shots, two goals.
"
In 1,253 career regular season games, the six-time All-Star has amassed an American record 511 goals, 722 assists for 1,233 points- now the most in U.S. history. During his brilliant 18-year NHL career, Modano has been the focal point of a Stars franchise which achieved elite status by winning their first Stanley Cup in 1999. During that run, the pivot contributed mightily finishing with five goals, 18 helpers for 23 points and a plus-six rating.
While that was the pinnacle for the leader of the Stars, he gained even more respect the following postseason in a six-game Stanley Cup Final defeat to the Devils by playing through severe injuries to nearly help his team comeback and repeat, scoring a 3 OT winner in Game Five. Modano concluded that playoffs with 23 points (10-13-23) in a losing effort.
Even though his team fell short, it was a memorable performance for a player not known for physicality.
What I admire most about Mike has been how solid overall he's been. Throughout his career, he could be depended upon in any situation to come through. This isn't a one-dimensional player but rather the kind of two-way American born hockey player many kids could grow up idolizing and patterning their game after.
His 29 shorthanded goals and respectable career plus-143 rating attest to how complete a player he's been.
To think that he's totaled so many points without ever reaching 100 in a season either. It just tells you how consistent this classy team oriented player has been.
Mike Modano will one day go into the Hockey Hall of Fame. And he'll do it as a Star. Just the way it should be!

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