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.