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Modano Weekly Wrap-Up: Tuesday, December 24

Unfortunately, the news of the week was centered around Mike Modano’s fourth (at least) career concussion courtesy of yet another controversial hit by Jeremy Roenick.  An important pre-holiday road trip started with a bang last Tuesday as Modano scored 29 seconds into the game against Roenick’s Flyers coached by former Dallas Stars’ lead man, Ken Hitchcock.  Just under 15 minutes later, Roenick charged Modano from his blind-side sending the defenseless Stars leader head first into the unforgiving glass.  The last time Modano suffered a concussion was Oct. 2, 1999, at the hands of Anaheim’s Ruslan Salei who hit him from behind into the glass and sidelined Modano for three games.

The aftermath saw Roenick under fire for his borderline “dirty” play for the umpteenth time in his career and Modano sidelined for the remainder of the week.  Roenick was suspended by the NHL for two games as Modano missed three games in addition to the final two periods of the Flyers contest.  He is expected back in the lineup and healthy this week.

Since Modano’s injury, the Stars have been outscored 9-5 in just over 11 periods and have yet to win.  Since the start of the 1998-99 season, Modano has missed 19 games.  In those games, the Stars have scored just 38 goals, an average of two per game.

The Week in Quotes

Facing Former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock in Philadelphia

“I look back at a guy like Mike Modano, and I’m just fortunate to have been able to work with a guy like that.  Not just to be able to work with him and watch him mature as a hockey player, but to see him mature as a person, to see him push the game down there, to give back to the community, to give of himself.  Those are the things you’ll always remember.”
 Hitchcock on Modano

“He helped push some right buttons that needed to be pushed in my career at that time.  There was a lot of trust.  He trusted me as a player and I trusted him as a coach.  You can say there were some times when it was tough to come to the rink, but there were a lot of times when it was great to come to the rink.”
 Modano on Hitchcock

Post-Game Comments in Philadelphia on Roenick’s Hit

“Anytime you hit somebody from behind like that, it’s a cheap hit.  It’s disrespecting the player.”
 Stars head coach, Dave Tippett

“It was what it was – a bad hit.  (Roenick) should have been kicked out of the game.  It’s one of the things we’re trying to get rid of in the game.”
Modano linemate, Bill Guerin

“It was very unfortunate, no question about it.  It really bothered me for the rest of the game.  I feel terrible about it.  You get stuck in a situation where you think a guy is turning up the boards and you are going to finish your hit.  And he doesn’t turn up like you think.  By no means would I try to do that to a guy of Mike Modano’s stature, or anybody that matter.  Mike Modano is a friend of mine.”
 Jeremy Roenick

Day After the Concussion

“I’ve pretty much had a headache all day.  I think you’re more concerned once it lingers and how long it will linger.  Will this one go longer than normal?  You don’t know which one will be the one that will push you over.  As the number goes up, it becomes a real concern; you’d like to avoid them as much as possible.  The more you get, it makes it that much easier to get another one.  It’s mainly the headaches, nagging all day, that’s the one thing that throws up the red flags.  When the brain is moved around, jarred and bruised, eventually it takes a toll on you.”
 Mike Modano

“(Roenick) was very apologetic.  Things happen fast and quick, and that does creep into the game at times.  You would just think people would know in certain situations, with guys away from the glass and with their backs to the ice…That’s what we’re trying to get rid of in this game.”
 Modano on Roenick who called him on his cell phone after the game

“We can’t lose a player like Modano.  There has to be protection for that.  (Players like Mike) are the reason the game sells.”
 Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock

The Rest of the Week

“There should be no blows to the head, nothing of that nature.  We should address it that way.  Even shoulder hits to the head should result in fines or suspensions.”
 Modano on what should be done about these type of hits

“I don’t want to be the poster boy for not being physical.  That’s the type of game we’re in.  I’ve taken my share of hits and blows.  I’ve learned to accept that going in.”
 Modano on the physical nature of hockey

“I thought it was warranted, but it doesn’t help our cause.  Him being in the game after the hit was troubling to me.  I thought it should have been a game misconduct.”
 Stars head coach, Dave Tippett, on Roenick’s suspension

“Roenick’s hit was certainly a dirty play in our game.  And probably speaking a little more forceful than I normally do, I think that is the type of player he is.  He hits people and players when they are in situations that they can’t defend themselves and then calls that good, clean hockey.  To me, it’s not good, clean hockey.  That’s only my opinion.
 Stars GM, Doug Armstrong

“If they don’t like hard players or a league of tough players, go watch ping-pong or badminton.  This is a man’s game.  I’m not going to stop hitting.  I’m going to come at people even harder just to spite them.  I will hit someone hard with a clean and legal hit like I’ve done over 1,000 times in this league.”
 The “apologetic” Jeremy Roenick

“With concussions, it’s not like doing a bone scan where you can see the injury.  All indications are he can be back after Christmas.  But he has to be symptom-free and feeling well before we consider putting him back on the ice.  This is a conservative approach to dealing with it.  He didn’t pass all the different elements of some testing and that’s an indicator he needs more time.”
 Doug Armstrong on Thursday, Dec. 19, following a series of “baseline” tests conducted on Modano

‘We’ll just make a decision on whether he’s healthy enough to play on Dec. 26.  A lot of it was precautionary.  He was still having headaches.  We have to take advantage of the three-day (Christmas) break.  We’ll give him a week right now.  Hopefully, that cures it and we’re back to normal.”
 Stars head coach, Dave Tippett, after Modano was placed on the injured reserve list on Friday, Dec. 20, retroactive to Dec. 18.

“I think I’ll be fine by then.  A few more days of sitting around, relaxing, resting up, and I think I’ll be fine.  I just wanted to get back to the feel, get the equipment on and handle the puck.  It’s been four or five days, so I wanted to get the rust off a little.”
 Modano after passing a baseline test on Monday, Dec. 23, and partaking in an optional skate

“Hockey is never a one-man sport.  But it’s nice to have your head horse back.”
 Tippett on news that Modano was scheduled to return Dec. 26 at Nashville

 Tippett on where the team has missed Modano most

The Week Ahead

Thursday, Dec. 26 at Nashville (Ch. 27, 7:00)
Friday, Dec. 27 at Florida (6:30, FSN)
Sunday, Dec. 29 vs. Detroit (Ch. 27, 8:00)