Most of the focus in the Mike Modano-to-Detroit rumors seems to center around Modano choosing to be a Red Wing (recently we found out he won’t decide until early August). Yet Scott Burnside brings up a good question: would the Red Wings be better off going with a different veteran scorer?
It’s not an issue of whether Modano has the will to lace ’em up in September or October; but what is his will to play out an entire season? That seemed to be an issue in Dallas the past couple of seasons and explains in part why the Stars made the choice to walk away from a player who has been the face of the franchise for two decades.
If we were Wings GM Ken Holland, we’d take a run at Bill Guerin or Paul Kariya to add veteran scoring punch and give one of their young prospects a shot at centering the third line. Less nostalgic, perhaps, but in the long run, we’re guessing it would be a more productive move with less potential for dressing-room headaches.
There should be no doubt that Modano isn’t the same player he once was, although the same could be said for Guerin and Kariya. Guerin ended up being a great fit alongside Sidney Crosby, but it must be noted that his age-advanced game didn’t translate as well in his most recent trip to the Western Conference as a short time San Jose Shark. Kariya is a small, injury-prone player who was a big bust in St. Louis, but a small contract might make a gamble worthwhile. You could argue that both Kariya and Guerin have a little more in the tank than Modano.
Either way, the Red Wings are clearly an aging team. Do they really need another graybeard in their lineup?
What do you think? Are the Red Wings wasting their time courting Modano? Would they be better off going after him, one of those veterans or another player altogether? Let us know in the comments.
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win
PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.
Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.
Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.