Mike Modano

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


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.

PHT Morning Skate: Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sits down with HBO Real Sports

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Legendary broadcaster Doc Emrick sat down with Andrea Kremer to discuss his 40 years in hockey. (Above)

Watch as a group of people (including some former NHLers) take part in a pond hockey game on the Rocky Mountains. (Bardown)

Check out Josh Jooris and Johnny Gaudreau‘s crib:

Former NHL referee Kerry Fraser explains why Brad Marchand deserved a penalty for his collision with Henrik Lundqvist. (TSN)

The EIHL’s Braehead Clan suited up in a kilt-like uniform.

Today’s the day you can start voting for your 2016 NHL All-Stars. (NHL.com)

The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

Todd McLellan

Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

Some of the more choice quotes:

“I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

“When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

“We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”