One of the off-season’s most intriguing twists of fate came from long time Dallas Star Mike Modano. The Stars said they weren’t bringing the 40 year-old Modano back and Modano’s hunt for a new team was on. While many teams didn’t exactly line up for Modano’s services, he did have a choice to make between his home state of Michigan and the Detroit Red Wings and the state where he began his pro career in Minnesota with the Wild.
Modano opted to sign a deal with the Detroit Red Wings and tonight, Modano makes his first trip back to Dallas to face his old team, for whom he played for for 20 years. Emotions are expected to be running high and hot in Dallas but Modano isn’t expecting his reception to be all that accommodating as George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press tells us.
“I think it’s going to be fun,” Modano said. “It’s going to be, obviously, a mix of emotions. Nonetheless, looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar people.”
Does he anticipate a positive reception?
“Well, you never know,” Modano said. “They always boo the Red Wings, so I’m guilty by association now. Obviously it’s a little salt in the wound that I’m in Detroit. … I think for the most part it will be pretty positive.”
Babcock said Modano would be in the starting lineup — to give fans a chance to acknowledge him at the start of the game.
“He’s been a great player for them for a long time,” Babcock said. “Didn’t finish there the way he wanted. That’s life. They’ve moved on and so has he. I think they’re going to cheer him like crazy initially, and then they may boo him after that. There will be a ton of respect for him.”
Modano in the starting lineup to have the fans recognize him is, indeed, a nice gesture. Of course, it could turn into a cascade of boos for the one-time Stars face of the franchise. Detroit isn’t well liked in Dallas for a load of different reasons and having Modano end up there after the Stars turned their attention away from him comes off looking especially bad.
The Stars just have to hope that things don’t turn out the way they did in Modano’s last game in Dallas where he scored the winning goal in a shootout. That would be particularly storybook for Modano’s sake, and it would likely make his wife Willa Ford particularly pleased.
Tonight is a big game for the Arizona Coyotes, as they host Vancouver, one of the teams they’re jockeying with for the final wild-card spot in the West.
If the Coyotes can beat the Canucks in regulation, they’ll move to within two points of Colorado for that final wild-card spot, with three games in hand on the Avs. Not only that, Vancouver’s playoff hopes would be dealt a significant blow.
Of course, that’s a pretty sizable “if” the way the Coyotes have been playing. The Desert Dogs are winless in their last four, with 21 total goals surrendered.
“We have to shore up some things and our goaltending has to be better,” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett told reporters, while confirming that Louis Domingue would get the start versus the Canucks.
Domingue, the NHL’s rookie of the month in January, has struggled of late, allowing five goals in each of his last three starts. In the Coyotes’ last game, they turned to Anders Lindback, only for Lindback to surrender five goals himself in a 5-2 loss to Anaheim.
For the Canucks, Ryan Miller is expected to start, after Jacob Markstrom got the win last night in Denver.
— Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers in Pittsburgh, where Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start for the Penguins.
— Craig Anderson for the Senators in Detroit, where Petr Mrazek will make his third straight start for the Red Wings.
The Buffalo Sabres have recalled forward Justin Bailey from AHL Rochester.
It’s the first time Bailey, a second-round pick in 2013, has ever been called up to the NHL. The 20-year-old joins the big club after piling up 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last eight games for the Americans.
Most Sabres fans will know that Bailey is from Buffalo (technically, Williamsville), the son of former Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey. (To learn more, click on this Buffalo News story from July.)
The Sabres play Thursday in Philadelphia, where Bailey will reportedly make his NHL debut.
To make room for Bailey on Buffalo’s roster, Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.
Thing have gone from bad to weird in Minnesota, where embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo was “disappointed” to see Zenon Konopka’s rabbit holding a sign that read, “YEO MUST GO.”
Hey, we told you things had gotten weird.
Konopka, a former Wild player, took to Twitter last night after Minnesota’s latest loss.
Here’s what Konopka tweeted:
And what did Yeo think about that?
“I really don’t care what he says,” he told the Star Tribune, apparently adding with a laugh, “I will say I was very disappointed to see Hoppy holding that sign.”
Now, according to the newspaper’s Michael Russo, “Konopka and Yeo had a lot of issues behind the scenes and that’s why [Konopka] ended up on waivers two Januarys ago.”
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of Wild fans agree with Hoppy, er, Konopka, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Wild could really, really use a win tomorrow at home to Washington.
Nice work from Artem Anisimov and Matt Niskanen this week, but Connor McDavid‘s tally is on a different level.
You can pretty much bank on McDavid being in Goals of the Year, too. Just saying.