BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 10: Mike Modano #9 of the Dallas Stars watches the action against the Buffalo Sabres at the HSBC Arena on March 10, 2010 in Buffalo, New York. The Sabres defeated the Stars 5-3. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Thursday's game against the Anaheim Ducks is, from a competitive standpoint, hardly intriguing. As the regular season's final week draws to a close, both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. But the reasons you may want to make the trek out to the AAC tonight go beyond just one ultimately meaningless game, or even one season.
Tonight -- the final home game of the Stars 2009-2010 campaign -- may be the final home game for the very face of hockey in Dallas (if not the entire Sunbelt). Mike Modano, who will turn 40 soon, and whose contract is up after the season, is seriously contemplating retirement.
Modano owns just about every franchise record there is to be had; he is the all-time leading scorer among US-born players and a Stanley Cup champion. But to get an idea of what No. 9 has meant to the city, since accompanying the franchise from Minnesota in 1993, you need look no further than the words of sportswriters who have covered him.
"His real legacy? When he arrived in North Texas hockey was a rumor," says the Dallas Observer's Richie Whitt. "As he departs, there are 8,000 kids playing in 23 rinks."
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News calls Modano "our bridge to a better time."
Lost, somewhat justifiably, in the pomp and circumstance surrounding Modano's possible finale, is that Marty Turco will almost certainly be playing in his final home game for the Stars, as well. Turco, the franchise's all-time leader in wins (261) and shutouts (40), will be a free agent after the season.
Dallas will take on the Anaheim Ducks tonight at the American Airlines Center at 7:30 p.m. The season will wrap up, fittingly for Modano, on Friday night in Minnesota.