August 27, 2011
With all due respect to Mike Modano's(notes) life-altering-decision-making process: Is anyone else surprised to hear he's "still mulling" retirement from the NHL, as reported by ESPN Dallas on Friday?
In the sense that he isn't retired already?
No, not yet, even though by his own postseason timeline a decision should have already been made. But if Modano had retired this summer at 41 years old after 21 seasons in the NHL, we would have noticed via an unavoidable celebration of his career from all corners of the hockey world, like the one Joe Sakic(notes) experienced when he hung up the skates.
Ah, but Modano actually did have that quintessential retirement party already -- at the end of the 2009-10 season with the Dallas Stars, as fans in both Big D and back in Minnesota were given a chance to say goodbye in a storybook finale for his career. (Well, as storybook as a non-playoff year can be.)
Alas, the fire still burned in ye olde belly, and Modano signed with the Detroit Red Wings. He played only 40 games due to a wrist injury, robbing him of a chance to leave the NHL in a satisfactory way. Which, again, he had after the 2009-10 season.
So he's still considering another go at it in the NHL. From Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas:
"It's tough to think about letting go because it's been a part of your life since you were a kid," Modano said Friday. "You have to see how you feel and how much you want to do it. I'm still on the fence."
Modano said he's talked with several of the league's television broadcast partners about the possibility of working on the air but isn't sure what might be available. That includes Fox Sports Southwest, which broadcasts most of the Stars' regular-season games.
Keep in mind that Modano didn't lack for options last year during his post-Dallas free agency — Detroit, the San Jose Sharks, the Minnesota Wild and the Anaheim Ducks all had their kicks at his tires. He wasn't ineffective when he played for the Red Wings, but he also wasn't Mike Modano, either.
Better to go out a legend than to linger too long. According to Modano, he'll be off the fence by the middle of September.