If you believe the well-founded gossip, it’s looking like Mike Modano’s career – either with the Stars or in the NHL – is about to end. Some have discussed the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of fanfare about his departure from the league, but I’d point to his healthy career (and middling recent years) and a mediocre season for Dallas as the main reasons why he might go out with a bit of a whimper.
That doesn’t change the fact that there are still some compelling retrospectives regarding the face of Stars hockey. Defending Big D gathers some of the best stories about Modano in this fantastic post. My favorite excerpt is from Dallas sports radio personality Bob Sturm.
As I have said a dozen times, Mike Modano was perfect for a city like Dallas. Maybe there were better players, but there wasn’t anyone more perfect for selling Texas on this game.
He was American. He was good looking (so they tell me). He was the best player on the ice – even if you were watching your first hockey game, you could tell he was the best player and surely the most electrifying.
Think about it. We all feel like Dallas is the exception to the rule when it comes to the NHL in the sun belt. In many of the cities, it has only been an unqualified success in years where those teams win the Stanley Cup. But in Dallas, the Stars have generally been well supported and followed. I submit to you that is a result of the instant magnetic force that Mike Modano and some of his friends had on the city.
Be sure to check out that roundup of great stories. Also, in the spirit of draft debates, I wrote a quick blurb for Battle of California about the Minnesota North Stars’ decision to draft Mike Modano over Trevor Linden many moons ago.
I’m sure Brandon (formerly of the aforementioned Defending Big D) will have plenty more Modano talk going forward.
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.
Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.