Mike Modano's plans for the future on hold until July

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Even though Mike Modano’s career may have ended on an especially poignant note in Minnesota, it appears that Modano may not be quite ready to hang it up for good. Modano told the Dallas Morning News that how things go this summer will dictate what his future will holds.

On whether he feels he is part of the Stars’ plans next season: The vibes haven’t changed much. I have a sense of the direction that the team is going in, and I’m not sure if I’m part of that. I’ll have to see what unfolds in July.

On possibly playing for another team next season: I can’t say that wouldn’t happen, but for me to go to a different team, it has to be an organization that I’m very familiar with. That way I would feel comfortable.

On which organizations he feels familiar with: There are several teams out West: Phoenix , San Jose , Anaheim and LA. I know a lot of the players and coaches of these teams because we’ve played them so much.

The team on that list that sticks out like a sore thumb is Phoenix. As you know, Phoenix’s head coach is Dave Tippett, former Stars head coach. From a familiarity standpoint that makes Phoenix seem so obvious it hurts. As for San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles the familiarity he speaks of there comes from playing so many games against them during the regular season.

At 40 years old, Modano probably wouldn’t want to spend time scorching his legacy in Dallas (and turning last year’s two touching farewell games in Dallas and St. Paul into seemingly empty gestures) to play for someone in a totally new system and wasn’t an immediate threat to make a deep run in the playoffs. If you’re just picking from the teams mentioned Phoenix, San Jose and Los Angeles gives him a nice set of options with the Coyotes being a great team last year, San Jose being the top seed in the west and Los Angeles poised to turn into next season’s version of the Chicago Blackhawks. Anaheim, while always a threat to do well, is more in the company of the Dallas Stars as far as competition goes. They’re not bad, but they don’t stand out as well as the other teams do. The Pacific Division is rather nasty that way.

The sad part of this whole thing becoming a story, however, is the fact that Modano appears to be headed down a rather Brett Favre-like road this summer. Or is it a Mats Sundin-like road? I guess we’ll see if Modano joins the ranks of poker players to find out.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

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As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.