Mike Modano says he expects to answer retirement question in 2-3 weeks

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Not too long ago, Mike Modano said that he didn’t want to echo Brett Favre’s feet-dragging tradition of retirement indecision. While his every move won’t be followed in the same breathless (and often nauseating) way, it’s starting to feel like Modano should wear No. 4 from now on.

If he wears another jersey number, that is. To many, it seemed like Modano should have gotten the memo during the 2010-11 season. After ignoring a storybook, curtail-call ending with the Dallas Stars to close out the 2009-10 campaign, Modano flailed away last season with injuries and healthy scratches producing a pot hole-filled road to what might be retirement.

Modano probably felt like that stretch didn’t really scratch the itch, but what else does he really need to prove? That’s for him to decide, though, and Modano told ESPN Dallas that his choice should come in the next two to three weeks.

Mike Modano expects to make a decision in “two to three weeks” whether he will return to hockey for his 22nd season or retire.

During a batting practice session for Saturday’s 10th annual Reebok Heroes Celebrity Baseball charity event, Modano said he returned to Dallas around Memorial Day weekend and has spent most of the offseason relaxing in the metroplex.

“I’ve just been taking it easy,” said Modano, the host of the event. “I’ve been on some vacations, kind of lying around playing some golf and not really in a rush to make a decision one way or the other about what’s going to happen.”

As much attention as Modano’s decision-making process might get, the question is: how many teams would realistically be interested in a 41-year-old center whose game has been marginalized by age but whose ego is healthy enough that he griped about being a healthy scratch?

Honestly, the only team that really makes much sense is his old pals in Dallas. Despite having a team that finished just one win shy of a playoff berth – not to mention a more exciting than usual team that featured the dazzling talents of departed center Brad Richards – the Stars’ attendance woes were obvious to the naked eye last season. The Stars organization obviously needs to end its box office dependence to Modano sooner or later, but they might bring some nostalgic fans back with the return of their former star.

Keep in mind that Dallas connection is just a gut reaction and that there might actually be other teams who voice some interest in Modano if he does decide to come back. It would probably be best if he decided to shoot for a front office job with the Stars organization and move on instead of soiling his legacy a bit more, but it’s his choice to make. He certainly earned that right during 21 mostly outstanding NHL seasons.

Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing

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The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?

Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.

Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.

A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:

Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”

He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.

Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.

Spicy stuff.

For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.

For more, check out a collection of the early violent moments and Tkachuk’s attempted shot at Doughty. The Kings win is summarized in greater detail here.

Measure of revenge: Kings delay clinching efforts for Flames, Blues

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Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.

OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.

It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.

Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.

In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.

Seriously, that fight with Deryk Engelland:

That goal included a bit of luck, but hey …

Iginla was named the first star of the contest, and cameras captured his big smile in enjoying a special night. For all the nastiness of that game, it was refreshing to see such a heartwarming moment.

For more on the violence, check out this post on the early stuff and this one on Tkachuk’s missed missile launch on Drew Doughty.

Kings and Canucks will square off in first NHL exhibition games in China

graphic via NHL
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It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.

The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?

“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”

The press conference inspired some jokes tonight.

Some of the best bits came in roping in … Kobe Bryant and David Beckham?

Alrighty then.

Click here for more details.

 

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.