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.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”