Mike Modano’s season last year in Detroit went about as poorly as you could imagine. For a guy that was 40 years-old and perhaps looking to play his swan song season in the NHL, getting his wrist sliced open by a skate and missing most of the season and then winding up a healthy scratch for most of the games after he returned it made for a rough season.
When the playoffs rolled around, Modano found himself in the press box more often than not and while that was disappointing enough for the 21-season veteran, apparently he didn’t care too much for how the Red Wings went about getting from Detroit to both Phoenix and San Jose.
Steve Schrader from The Detroit Free Press tells us about how Modano didn’t much care for the rigors of travel with the Red Wings and their team airplane while not actively helping them out on the ice.
“Back and forth to Phoenix and back and forth to San Jose?” Modano said in that interview with a Dallas radio station.
“On that little puddle-jumper they got? We gotta stop in Nebraska and refuel? Fill up the gas tank and go the rest of the way to San Jose? That bird can’t make it on one tank of gas. They got a new one this summer.”
What, Redbird, the pride of the Little Caesars fleet?
“So going to San Jose, say we leave at probably noon Detroit time — that’s 9 o’clock out there,” Modano said. “We roll in around 4 or 5 o’clock San Jose time.
“When I first heard that, I was like, ‘I never heard that story from anybody else,’ ’cause I never talked to Hullie and all these guys about playing in Detroit.
“Brett brought up the plane, you know, wait till you see this thing, but he never mentioned if you go to the West Coast, you gotta stop somewhere to get some gas. I’m like, what?”
All right so it wasn’t premium accommodations but it’s not as if the pilot of the plane started taking a bat to it to “make it look mean” either.
While Modano is still making up his mind whether or not he’s going to retire this summer, he’s still technically a free agent. Chances are if there’s not a spot for him in Detroit, he’s likely done in the NHL as Detroit was his “homecoming” place to go before last season. Finding a spot on anyone’s roster for a 41 year-old center coming off a year that saw him play just a handful of games thanks to injury and couldn’t crack the lineup in the playoffs doesn’t seem too likely.
Modano probably wanted to go out riding a little bit higher into the sunset, but unless he takes a pay cut or doesn’t mind being a part-time player, this could be it for him. It’s up to him to decide if he wants to stick around but if he does want to keep playing, other teams might make the decision to retire for him.