Modano Returns to the Lineup Tonight
The Stars announced today that center Mike Modano has been officially activated from the injured reserve list. He will be in the lineup tonight in San Jose (9:30 p.m. CST -- My 27, News/Talk 820 WBAP).
Modano, 36, has missed the past 23 games from Dec. 6 -- Jan. 28 due to an injury he suffered on Dec. 4 vs. San Jose. In 27 games this season with the Stars, he has posted 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points with 10 penalty minutes and six power play tallies. Among team leaders, he ranks tied for first in game-winners (4), tied for third in power play goals and tied for fourth in goals.
"It's been difficult watching so many games from the press box, so I'm ready to get back into the lineup and get my legs back," Modano said today after the team's morning skate in San Jose. "We've had a number of guys come in and step their games up with all the injuries we've had, and those guys have played well and carried the load. We've seen what we're capable of doing with a full lineup, so we're going to bring that same mindset from here on. We want to get healthy, get our lines in order and get back to what we were able to do in October and November."
Modano brings much more to the table than his scoring ability. He occupies a large chunk of the opposition's defense plan against Dallas and forces them to pay special attention when he is out on the ice. Modano plans on taking it right to the Sharks tonight and doing what he does best. "I'm going to work hard to challenge guys one-on-one and make them play defense," he said. "I feel like my legs are back so I'll hopefully I'll be able to get open, have patience and make plays. It's obviously going to be tough against tight-checking teams like San Jose."
Head Coach Dave Tippett has reunited Modano with his linemates Jere Lehtinen and Jussi Jokinen, a trio that has had success over the last two seasons playing together.
"It will be nice to play with Jere and Jussi again, and it helps that we have a chemistry and a history developed between us," Modano said. "Jussi has had some ups and downs this year, but he is so creative, he sees the ice extremely well and can make plays. It's obviously been tough for him to duplicate what he did last year, but it takes time and getting games under your belt. And Jere is Jere. You know what you're going to get with him, and that's 100% every shift and every night. We need to create pressure and get our timing back with each other."
Modano has appeared in 1,206 career NHL games, registering 495 goals and 708 assists for 1,203 points. He is seven goals shy of tying Joe Mullen for first on the all-time U.S. born goal scoring list and is 29 points away from tying Phil Housley for first on the U.S. born points list.