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Mike Modano Weekly Wrap: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Mike Modano made his return to the ice after missing three-plus games due to post-concussion syndrome.  The Stars ended a long road trip with back-to-back games at Nashville and Florida before closing the week with yet another tie against Detroit, the fourth of the season, at American Airlines Center on Sunday.  With All-Star voting ending Tuesday, December 31, Modano trails Colorado center Joe Sakic by 1,303 votes for the Western Conference starting center position (as of vote tallies through Dec. 27).  The Stars have reached their in-stadium maximum ballot allotment, so you won’t be able to vote at the Edmonton game Tuesday night.  To vote for Mike, head to dallasstars.com or nhl.com today!

Thursday, December 26 at Nashville (L, 1-3)

Stat line:
Plus/minus: -1
22:02 of ice time, 26 shifts
• 4:49 power play
• 0:14 shorthanded
5 of 20 faceoffs won (25%)
Two shots on goal

• Modano vs. Nashville, career: 18 games played, 12 goals, 7 assists, 19 points
• Modano started out with Brenden Morrow and Bill Guerin as his wingers, but Stars coach Dave Tippett shook things up in the second and third periods and Modano played with a variety of teammates.

Mike was the first intermission guest with Stars color analyst, Daryl Reaugh, during the telecast on KDFI-Ch. 27.  Following is a transcript of the interview:

Daryl Reaugh (DR): The obvious question is how did it feel down there on the ice the first 20 minutes back from the neck on up?

Mike Modano (MM): That part was good, but everything else was a little sluggish at times.  We just wanted to keep our shifts short since everyone feels a little heavy after the layoff and time away. We wanted it to be a smart period, but got caught flat-footed on that goal.  Now, we are catching from behind again.

DR: The recent concussion was your fifth now.  Do you find it at all alarming that you have stacked a few of them up now?

MM: It’s alarming in just the way I am getting the concussions.  The hits I’ve taken that have caused them make you wonder and make you doubt the respect that’s around the league.  I’m one for physical play, it’s part of the game and I accept that.  But, it’s the hits from behind that have always been an issue, as well as blows to the head and the seamless glass is another issue we try and bring up with our union and owners.  It weighs in the back of your mind how many you can sustain before your career is over.

DR: Back to the first period, there were a lot of turnovers on both sides, is that part of the layoff that it is more tough mentally than physically to get back into things?

MM: I think so.  Just getting the timing back and getting into the groove of things…the transition, the passing, hitting guys on the fly.  The passes are a little off.  That’s a problem and that’s a big part of our game—the transition and our speed.  If we don’t have that through the neutral zone, we’re not a very effective team and won’t create a lot of opportunities.  A little more focus and concentration and those things will start coming into play.

Friday, December 27 at Florida (W, 4-0)

Stat line:
One power play assist
Plus/minus: E
17:33 of ice time, 23 shifts
• 0:59 power play
• 2:33 shorthanded
10 of 20 faceoffs won (50%)
No shots on goal

• Modano vs. Florida, career: 14 games, 9 goals, 5 assists, 14 points
• With 2:43 left in the first period, Modano fired a shot high and broke the glass behind the Panthers goal.  Instead of waiting for the repair, the teams were sent to the locker rooms for the first intermission and the first period was completed right before the second period started.
• On his power play assist to Jere Lehtinen, Modano showed great patience, delaying his pass with a hesitation move to provide Lehtinen with a perfect angle and position to score.

“Obviously growing up in Michigan, I saw a lot of the Red Wings.  I spent a lot of time playing with Little Ceaser’s which was owned by the Red Wings owner so we spent some time with those guys.  Toronto was also nearby and my dad was from Boston, so we watched the Bruins and went to some games at the old Boston Garden.”
 Modano responding to a fan’s question on what teams he watched growing up

Sunday, December 29 vs. Detroit (Tie, 2-2)

Stat line:
One power play assist
Plus/minus: E
22:52 of ice time, 32 shifts
• 3:58 power play
• 3:33 shorthanded
12 of 25 faceoffs won (48%)
No shots on goal

• Modano vs. Detroit, career: 69 games, 25 goals, 34 assists, 59 points
• The Stars ended their season series with the Red Wings with four ties in four games, only the third time in team history that a four-game season series has ended with all ties.

“You always grade yourself against the top teams and we’ve been challenged and pushed by other teams below us all year.  This will be a good test.  They’ve played us well the last seven games, we’ve only won once.”
 Modano on facing the Red Wings

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, December 31 vs. Edmonton (FSN, 7:30)
Thursday, January 2 at San Jose (KDFI-27, 9:30)
Saturday, January 4 at Los Angeles (KDFI-27, 9:30)
Sunday, January 5 at Anaheim (ESPN, 7:00)