Mike Modano: It's Detroit or retirement

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We don’t know if the Red Wings courtship of Mike Modano amuses you, saddens you or makes you want to hurl, but at the very least it’s provided a nice, heartwarming like a G-Rated movie kind of side show to the Ilya Kovalchuk circus of inaction that continues to go on. We mentioned last night that Modano was going to meet with Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Ken Holland today and, as it turns out, that meeting turned into date night for a free agent future hall of famer.

Ilitch, Holland and Modano all took in this evenings Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park and while there, Modano seemed to be even more impressed with Detroit than he was before, so much so that Chris McCosky gives us Modano’s rather surprising revelation.

Forget about the Blackhawks or any other NHL team. If Westland native Mike Modano decides he wants to play hockey next season, he is going play for the Red Wings.

“There isn’t any other team,” said Modano, standing outside Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch’s suite at Comerica Park Tuesday night. “It will be here or I’m not playing. I think it’s narrowed to that.”

Well then. For fans that have been insistent that Modano find a way to make his way to the Minnesota Wild to finish his career where it began, while that would make for a nice story, the Wild aren’t the team that Modano came up with and the Wild certainly don’t play in the Met Center the way the North Stars used to. For Mike Modano, Michigan is his home and his hometown of Westland, near Livonia, is right outside of Detroit.
As for what Modano can bring to Detroit, it’s a third line centerman that can score as well as be reasonably defensively sound as well. Guys like Kris Draper and Darren Helm (who is a restricted free agent himself) don’t have the offensive touch that Modano has, even at the age of 40.
Of course, it remains to be seen if Detroit will, indeed, bring him on board.  The Wings for the meantime are about $4 million and change away from the cap after signing Drew Miller to a one-year $650,000 deal today. Should Modano decide to retire instead of play one more year, it’s not a decision that’s likely to ruin Detroit’s off-season game plan.

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.