Modano and wife Willa Ford at the ESPYsTwo weeks ago, when the Minnesota Wild committed the gross domestic product of Micronesia in order to secure the lifetime services of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the fanbase went nuts. As you might expect when a generally middling team suddenly adds two superstars, there was an immediate outpouring of affection among Minnesota hockey fans, as well as renewed interest in the Wild.
Case in point: former North Star and regular Star Mike Modano even tweeted, "Can I come back and play in Minnesota too..?"
He was kidding. Except that he sort of wasn't.
After a rumour spread Sunday that Modano had fielded an offer from the San Jose Sharks, Modano's phone begin to ring for the first time since he retired, as people sought to get some clarification on the report.
Here's what they learned: Modano was more than willing to talk (he gave at least three separate interviews over the weekend) and, while the Sharks had not called, if they or any other team would, he might be willing to talk to them too.
"If the phone ever rang, if there was somebody who inquired, I would give it serious thought about playing," he said. "I just feel the way my season ended in Detroit, because of the injury, affected me playing the rest of the year. Everything was just starting to fall into place. I was playing catch-up the rest of the year."
[...] "Oh, my god," Modano said with a laugh. "There's a sour taste in my mouth with the way [my career] ended. I thought it could be more of a fairytale departure. I don't know if I'm still looking for that or what, but I'm not totally pulling that option off the table."
Modano's not the only one with a sour taste in his mouth over how his career ended. For him, it may have been the wrist injury, but for fans, it was the fact that he was playing in Detroit. Putting Modano in Red Wing red was like putting nipples on the batsuit. It was weird and it made everyone feel weird.
Modano's year with the Red Wings was a mistake -- one that Dallas even tried to help him amend by signing him to a one-day contract just prior to his retirement announcement.
But it would appear that technically retiring a Star wasn't enough to leave him with a satisfied mind, and the revival in Minnesota (not to mention NHL General Managers' sudden fetish for old dudes) only fed his itch to rewrite his last chapter. From Sportsnet:
Now the self-confessed golf addict says he would entertain a return to the rink if Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher or owner Craig Leipold approached him.
"If Leopold or Fletcher calls me, I'm picking the phone up," Modano told PTS.
So… you're not retired?
"I signed the papers," Modano said, but "that doesn't mean anything anymore."
Now, answering the phone up isn't the same thing as announcing a comeback. Modano says he's only sort of debating one. But, conveniently, he did start working out on Monday. You know, just for chuckles and poops. From the Dallas News:
Modano said he started working out on Monday, but not with a comeback in mind, rather with the thought of "what the heck."
"I don't know," he said. "You look at things and you wonder what's the worst thing that could happen? I mean, I get in better shape. I don't know what's going to happen with the CBA and everything, but I mean, one more year? That kind of intrigues me."
It's interesting that Modano would bring up the CBA uncertainty, because while a lockout would hardly be ideal for most of us, it might work in his favour.
Clearly, this itch only recently got a little harder to scratch, so Modano's not exactly in game shape. Could he get there by September? Maybe. But give the man a few additional months and it's even more likely. Plus, a shortened season might ideal after a year away from the game.
Is it possible that Mike Modano returns when hockey does?