Wow, this is going to be weird.
I have never seen a Dallas Stars game — and I’ve seen practically every one since 1997-98 — in which Mike Modano weren’t part of the team. Likely, neither have you unless you watched the Minnesota North Stars before 1989, but then they weren’t the Dallas Stars.
Forget gut-check time, that had to be gut-wrench time for Nieuwendyk to tell his friend and former teammate he no longer had a place with the team he helped solidity in the uncharted hockey waters of Dallas and Texas, and yes, I know the Dallas Blackhawks played here as have other minor league teams. Still.
We pretty much knew this was coming, but no amount of realization can prepare one for the finality. It’s still a blow if not a shock.
Modano, during his press conference Wednesday, left the door to playing elsewhere wide open once free agency starts Thursday.
Personally, selfishly, I hope he doesn’t, because I’d hate to think of him wearing a different sweater. It would just cause a rift in the hockey force. I hope he talks with Emmitt Smith before making that decision.
But thanks, Modano, for helping covert me into a hockey fan above all other sports. Thanks for gutting it out and playing with a broken wrist during the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals, and for raising the Cup with that broken wrist.
Thanks for your time in Dallas. It’s a better city for it.
Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. He’ll be there for the home opener, as usual, but it’ll be a little bittersweet.