Mike Modano

Mike Modano wasn’t a big fan of traveling in the playoffs with Detroit

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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.

Shock of Lightning: Stamkos will play

Steven Stamkos
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He’s in.

As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.

Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.

More:

Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.

That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.

Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.

It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.

To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.

 

Drama builds as Stamkos takes Game 7 warmup

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 26:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 26, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Lightning shutout the Devils 4-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.

In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.

And then Stamkos took the warmup.

As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.

“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”

No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.

Stay tuned…

Parise rehabbing back injury without surgery, ‘no question’ he’ll play in World Cup

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17:  Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 17, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Wild 7-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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EDINA, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has been rehabilitating his back injury without surgery, putting him on track to be at full strength by September.

Parise said Thursday he’s “happy with the way everything’s going.” He said he’s been able to work out as he normally does during the summer, despite missing the playoffs because of the injury.

Parise said there’s “no question” he’ll be ready to play for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey tournament.

Parise joined teammates Erik Haula, Jason Pominville, Nate Prosser, Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker at an autograph signing to raise money for people affected by the wildfires in Alberta. The parents of Spurgeon’s wife, Danielle, lost their home to a fire in the Edmonton area.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Penguins, Game 7

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Alex Killorn #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning falls to the ice at the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Not much more to say than this:

GAME 7.

Puck drop is at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, but you can also catch the game online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

It’s been a ‘roller coaster’ — Pens, Bolts ready for Game 7

Vasilevskiy ‘is the big reason we’re in Game 7,’ says Bolts coach Cooper

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

Video: Johnson pays the price for Tampa Bay