Modano weekly wrap-up: Tuesday, November 26
Mike Modano continued his high-flying ways during this four-game week
featuring three road tests against division opponents. The Stars gained
five points and built their division lead to nine following a home victory
against Phoenix on Monday night. The home win raised their record at the
American Airlines Center to 8-0-0-1 and kept them unbeaten in regulation this
year in Dallas.
Wednesday, November 20 at Phoenix (T, 2-2)
24:10 of ice time
11 of 18 faceoffs won (61%)
Three shots on
• Modano vs. Phoenix, career: 59 games, 27 goals, 43 assists,
• Named No. 3 star by Dallas Morning News
• The Dallas
Morning News put together its own list of an All-America Team of U.S.-born
hockey players listing Mike Modano along with Frank Brimsek, Chris Chelios,
Brian Leetch, Pat Lafontaine and Joey Mullen.
• Mike ranks second
all-time to Lafontaine in points per game for U.S.-born NHLers with 1.036 ranks
second to Chelios in playoff scoring with 109 points in 125 games.
“I think what they’re doing is great. They’ve had the
nucleus for a few years and they’ve got a taste of winning in the
playoffs. You don’t think about it in October and November, but the games
you win then can really pay off in April and May. We’ve never been good at
the same time. That would be something if both teams played into
Modano on the hot start by the Dallas Mavericks
“He’s an underrated player if that’s possible. He’s an elite player in
the game and has been for a number of years. He hasn’t received the
personal accolades of Hart trophies and Selke trophies, but he’s been in the
running, year in and year out. Hopefully, this year, if he continues,
he’ll get that recognition because he is certainly the MVP of this
Stars GM Doug Armstrong on Modano
“He’s helped sell the game here more than anybody.”
Stars head coach
Dave Tippett on Modano
“We were always hanging around the same rinks, so I got to follow his career
and got to know him a little bit. At the time, there weren’t a whole lot
of Americans out there to emulate. I think Pat (Lafontaine) and Phil
Housley were two of the big ones that I followed.”
Pat Lafontaine, when asked about joining Lafontaine as one of five Americans to
surpass 1,000 NHL career points
Friday, November 22 at Anaheim (W, 4-0)
One power play assist
13:48 of ice time
(season low), 19 shifts
1:57 power play
of 15 faceoffs won (53%)
Four shots on goal
• Modano vs. Anaheim, career: 40 games, 18 goals, 43 assists,
• Sportsline.com moved Modano to No. 1 in its center rankings
ahead of Mario Lemeiux.
• Modano’s low ice time was a reflection of the
Stars large early lead which allowed Coach Tippett to rest top players for the
second of back-to-back games against Los Angeles on Saturday.
“I keep going back comparing it to 1999 where we didn’t lose our ninth gane
until maybe mid-February. It’s one of those years. We have great
depth, we have guys chipping in at the right time and getting timely
Modano on the team’s league-best start
Mike was the NHL’s featured player on the weekly media teleconference hosted
Thursday, November 21. Following is the transcript:
Q. Obviously, you're having fun in that you're winning, have the
record in the league right now, but how much fun is it playing for
Tippett so far this season?
MIKE MODANO: Well, it's
been a lot of fun. It's been a bit of a learning
process. I think any time
you have new personnel, it's a time that you
have to earn the respect of the
new coaches and a lot of the new players.
It was an exciting start to the
year. We got off to a good start. I think
everybody was really committed
coming into it to make a difference, to
really have the start and the
transition we wanted. It's been really good
Stylistically, what are you doing different personally? Everyone says
playing less in checking situations. Are you enjoying being freed
up to play
in scoring situations more?
MIKE MODANO: As far as match-ups, we
haven't been a team that's matched up
against other personnel. I think we try
to match-up against other teams'
top players with our defensemen, try to get
them out as much as possible.
As far as the forward situation, we've played
against everybody. We think
that any of our four lines can play against other
teams' top lines, the
other lines that the other teams have. That way, it's
been a little bit of
a free-up. It's a tough responsibility to score in the
check when you're
player against players like Sergei Fedorov, Jaromir Jagr,
players of that caliber.
Q. You were one of the
first guys to test the Synergy stick out in '99?
Q. What do you think of the one-piece sticks, have you tried
MIKE MODANO: I tried the Cyclor against Denver. I should be
more today or tomorrow. It's an amazing stick. It's light.
consistent. Obviously, if you ask anybody, you can shoot the puck a
harder and quicker. It's a great stick. Right now, it has the
consistency of any stick.
Q. How much difference is there
between the Cyclor and the regular Synergy
that you've been
MIKE MODANO: They tried to soften the blade up a little bit.
I think the
one big complaint about the Synergy was the real hard blade, the
having a tendency to bounce off it. I think this in a way cushions
blade a little bit more, limits that puck from bouncing around on you.
Q. It seems like you spent the entire time of the early part of
on the road. You let one get away at Phoenix. I know you
disappointed. Can you talk about the Divisional opponents coming up
you with the Ducks on Friday and Kings on Saturday? Divisional
are the most critical thing you want to try to attack first.
MIKE MODANO: We've taken our Division, our Conference, very
think it was a real blessing to begin all these games on the
road. I think
it's really brought us together a lot. It's got us away from
distractions at home, made us really focus on the game, our team.
been able to carry over at home with our record at home. It's
untarnished of late, too.
It's been good. We wanted to get off to a
good start. We were upset about
last night. We felt we deserved a little
better fate. We made some
mistakes that they capitalized on to tie the game.
But, hey, we have two
more big games coming up back to back, tomorrow and
Saturday, big key
points, better points if we can get a couple wins before we
Q. Could you talk about the transformation you went
through over the
years? You look at Steve Yzerman, developed into a more
over the years. I think you're similar to that. Do you feel
this is the
most complete you've ever been as a player in every facet of the
MIKE MODANO: Well, I feel real comfortable I think at the
state I'm at in
my career, as a player. There's always a learning situation
that you come into a season. Granted, I've had some makeovers in
career, some changes. I think that just happens with the players
you, the coaches you have around you. The chance of winning, you're
to grab some depth. We grabbed some nucleus, great guys. There's a
bit of sacrifice there. There's a lot of talent. I think you have a
of guys who have to pull back a little bit, accept responsibility in
areas of the game.
I think Steve did that. He was one guy I really
watched to see how he
transformed his game. He added a lot to his game, he's
not just a great
Q. Was Ken Hitchcock a big part of how
you transformed? Like you said, a
lot of it was looking at a guy like Steve.
MIKE MODANO: Well, Hitch came in and eventually gave me
responsibility, saying, "This is your role." Bob never gave me that.
think we had checkers there before. We had Mike McPhee, we had
Broten, players to accept that defensive two-way role. I was just kind
sitting in the back, just kind of biding my time, waiting for my
Those players were gone, he just told me, "That's going to be your
If you want to accept it, we'd love for you to be in that situation."
think once you're told that, you realize that's going to be your job,
think you handle it a lot better.
Q. I wonder if you could
talk about Dave Tippett in terms of comparing his
coaching style compared to
other coaches you played for. His team meetings
are very short, you don't get
these 19-page lists of things that you have
to do that you may have had in
the past. What has it been like, what
Tippett has been like leading you guys?
MIKE MODANO: Well, he's very quiet I think as a guy. I think it
he's really enjoying this opportunity. I think as players we're
welcome to the overall change. You know, obviously Dave has played
game and he understands certain situations, he understands the
that goes into playing the game, game-day rituals. He's left a
lot up to
us as far as players and our captains to try to prepare ourselves,
He adds his points as far as a coach what he thinks
we really need to
focus on as a team to really be successful, what the other
team has as far
as strengths and weaknesses. He'll touch on a couple of
things, that's it.
Our meetings are maybe five, not even ten minutes long. I
allows us more time to prepare ourselves. He's been quiet on the
He'll call out the line changes, people that he wants out there. For
most part, having played the game, he understands situations that
on the ice. Can't really explain that too much. It goes a long way
player playing for a guy like that.
Q. When you say he
leaves it up to the captains and players to prepare, do
you get a feeling he
trusts you guys?
MIKE MODANO: I think so. Our nucleus of guys have
been here for a long
time. We've all won, we've all been through some growing
but we've all come a long way together. I think that's what
understands. We're a veteran group. We all have won. I think that's
he understands and respects. We respect him for allowing us to at
work out our problems ourselves.
Q. You've had the chance
to play with Bill Guerin in international
tournaments, short tournaments, now
he's your teammate. Have you learned
anything new about him, being able to
see him every day?
MIKE MODANO: I don't know. Obviously, he's
coming in with a lot of
expectations and pressure. He's been able to handle
that better than a lot
of guys that have come in here with big contracts and
high hopes have.
He's just gone out there and done his job, played the way he
was paid to
play. That's all you really can ask for. He's been very
his game. He's a very competitive kind of guy, comes to play.
that's what really makes great players in the game, and any sport, is
be able to do it day in and day out.
Q. You can see him do
that for six or seven games in the Olympics. To see
a guy be able to play at
that level every day, does that kind of make you
say, "This is something
MIKE MODANO: Yeah, it's a high level that we have to
play, that we're
expected to play. I think it comes with the expectations of
our team. We
have a great team. We have a great system. We have a good bunch
we all get along very well together. I think we all realize how good
year we could have if we come prepared to play and give it
we've got every game.
Thus far, he's done that. We've all been
able to feed off that, play to
the best of our ability.
much a part of your team's success at this point has Marty Turco
you expect him to respond this strongly when he was finally
given the number
MIKE MODANO: Well, I think that was everybody's big
question mark going
into the season from management and media, "How is Marty
going to respond
to having to come in after Eddie, fill that hole?" But he
has a lot of
confidence in his ability and his talent. He plays a very
challenging style. He likes to play the puck, move around.
He's been one of the real big bright spots of our early success.
Q. What is Tippett's magic formula on the power play?
MIKE MODANO: Well, just to have a lot of patience. I think in the
we're in such a rush to get the puck to the net, crash the net, move
puck around. That's why they're called two-minute penalties. We have
to work it around. We're not forcing everything. We're taking our
moving it around. Obviously, we work on some set plays, set
But we work on it every day a lot. We kind of talk about things.
know where everybody is going to be on the ice helps a lot. If you
have the time to get your head up and look, you know where these guys
going to be, to relieve the pressure, make the plays, get the
through the net.
A lot of our success does come off the shots where
we get a lot of
scrambling, they're turning their backs, we're able to find
He's been calm about it, just let us go out there and keep
working at it.
We have a lot of setup time in the other team's zone, which
is going to
result in some goals.
Q. Have you noticed any
slack-off in the obstruction calls over the past
couple weeks from the first
MIKE MODANO: Not really. I think more or less the teams are
understand it and really trying to learn. There's a lot more
Players are skating with players rather than trying to hold on and
them down. The odd time, maybe a little bit in the offensive zone with
picks coming off face-offs and stuff. I think for the most part, teams
starting to change the way they play.
Q. You've been with
the Stars for your entire career. A lot of players
don't get the opportunity
to stay with a team that originally drafted
them. How much does it mean to
you to have been with that same team for
MIKE MODANO: It's meant a lot. I think that's the one thing
kind of thankful for, lucky for, too. There's been a lot of ups
in this organization, a lot of players have come and gone through
that I've been here. But to work through that, then to finally be on
other side, enjoying the success, sticking through the tough times
really enjoy the good times. It's been a lot of fun down in Dallas.
been a great 10 years. It's been a real thrill to start and
something with the same team.
MODERATOR: Thanks very
MIKE MODANO: Okay.
Saturday, November 23 at Los Angeles (L, 0-2)
23:31 of ice time, 28 shifts
19 of 26 faceoffs won (73%)
• Modano vs. Los Angeles, career: 51 games, 24 goals, 33
assists, 57 points
• Modano’s regular left winger, Ulf Dahlen, was
injured in the second period and Coach Tippett used a variety of line
combinations for the rest of the game.
“His demeanor on the bench, during practice and meetings, it’s really
different. It’s almost calming, relaxing, a confident kind of sound to
it. You’re not revved up. You’re not nervous. We prepare ourselves
the same against any team. If teams are going to beat us, they’re going to
beat us at our game.”
Modano on Coach Tippett’s style
The following is the report on Modano from the Hockey Scouting Report
THE FINESSE GAME
Modano is one of the game’s most well-rounded
players. He has world-class skills that match those of just about any
player in the NHL. Modano is not a physical player, but he isn’t
soft. When there is a lot of open ice, he’s a thrilling player to
watch. He has outstanding offensive instincts and great hands, and he is a
smooth passer and a remarkable skater in all facets.
Modano makes other players around him better, which is the mark of a
superstar. His speed and agility with the puck leave defenders mesmerized
and open up ice for his linemates.
Modano has become a top penalty killer. His anticipation and quick
hands help him intercept passes. By going to a straighter stickblade he
has improved his face-offs and become so reliable defensively that he is thrown
onto the ice in the closing minutes of a period or game.
Like Steve Yzerman, Modano learned that flirting with 100-point seasons was
fun, but to become a champion one has to sacrifice some of the offensive spark
to play a better all-round game. Modano has done so.
THE PHYSICAL GAME
He plays through injuries, and in his own way Modano is
strong and tough – maybe not aggressive and feisty, but questions about his
hockey courage have been quelled forever. He is a gamer.
Joe Nieuwendyk’s departure placed more pressure on Modano,
but Bill Guerin’s addition should help both on the ice and in the dressing
room. Missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996 had to sting, and
Modano has had a long off-season to think about how to fix it.
Monday, November 25 vs. Phoenix(W, 5-1)
One goal, one assist
19:10 of ice time, 24
3:54 power play
16 of 27 faceoffs
Three shots on goal
• Modano vs. Phoenix, career: 60 games, 28 goals, 44 assists,
• With Ulf Dahlen being held out as a precaution from his
injury in Los Angeles, Jere Lehtinen skated on Modano’s left
• Modano was selected the No. 1 star by the Dallas Morning
• The Stars are promoting their five All-Star nominations with
special campaign-style buttons. Modano’s button says “Make it Mo!”
“There’s a little bit of additional expectations when we’re out there.
We are all counted on to play the same way, but maybe we can add a little more
with what we do on offense.”
Modano on his regular line with Dahlen and
“We’ve always been able to create offense from our defense in the past and
we’re trying to get that across now. We’re smothering the opposition,
especially at home.”
Modano on the team’s two-way focus
From The Hockey Digest, a bio file on Modano written by Scoop Malinowski:
Childhood heroes: Daryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a
strong two-way player, I thought. Real smart to watch on the ice.
And also Alan Trammell of the Detroit Tigers.
Nicknames: Mo, Yank
Hobbies and interests: Golf (“I’d like to give it a try after hockey.”),
travel in the offseasson.
Funny hockey memory: When I was with Minnesota (in 1988), Kari Takko bought a
lobster in Boston and put it in my garment bag. And when I opened the bag
in Montreal, the lobster was snapping at me. He had taken the rubber bands
off the claws. My roommate Reed Larson called room service and they took
it down and cooked it for us.
Favorite movies: Young Frankenstein, Used Cars
Musical tastes: Heavy rock & roll, Stone Temple Pilots, Danzig,
Mettalica, Van Halen (with David Lee Roth)
First job: Delivering drywall at the lumber yard in Prince Albert,
Saskatchewan as a 17-year-old
First car: 1976 green Chevy Impala
Favorite meal: Chicken parmigiana and glass of Silver Oak ‘91
Favorite breakfast cereal: Frosted Flakes
Favorite ice cream flavor: Haagan Daz butter pecan
Favorite vacation spot: Cabo San Lucas
Toughest competitor: Chris Chelios is the toughest to play against.
One-on-one, he’s probably the best in the league. He’s tough to
beat. He seems to recover fast if he’s caught out of position. He is
a smart player.
Closest NHL friends: Matt Scheider, Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Keith
Tkachuk, Bill Guerin
Pregame feeling: I’m a little nervous. I feel a little pressure,
knowing I have to outplay the other team’s best players. I go over plays
in my head, thinking about what I will try to do in certain situations.
Last Halloween costume: I had a Nixon mask at a team party a few years
Interesting fact: I’m shy, quiet. I don’t like big crowds. People
find it hard to get to know me.
Greatest sports moment: Winning the Stanley Cup (1999), for sure. And
winning the World Cup over Canada (1986).
Most painful moments: There are a couple. One was the concussion I got
from the shoulder of Mark Messier. And then I ruptured some ankle tendons
and missed the rest of the year in 1995.
People most admired: People that come up against adversity and learn from it
and become a better person from it. I think everybody goes through tough
times in life and you become a better person if you learn in different
situations. Sometimes it takes adversity to learn the life we have is
better than in some other countries.
The Week Ahead
Wednesday, November 27
vs. Minnesota (FSN, 7:30)
Friday, November 29 vs. New York Rangers (Ch. 27,
Saturday, November 30 at Nashville (Ch. 27, 7:00)