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Mo Returns to the Ice

By DallasStars.com Staff
February 28, 2006

Mike Modano returned to practice with the Dallas Stars on Tuesday at the Frisco Dr Pepper StarCenter. He was all-smiles in returning to work with his teammates.

"It's great to be back," said Modano. "We get right back to work on Thursday in Phoenix and the playoffs are right around the corner."

Modano's remarks to the media in Torino, Italy, on Wednesday after Team USA was eliminated from Olympic play has been a topic of conversation throughout North America. He wanted to set the record straight on what sums up Modano and his feelings about USA Hockey.

The bottom line -- Mo cares.

"It was a little bit out of character for my personality to speak out like I did," said Modano. "I've had some great experiences in the Olympics and some other world tournaments over the years with USA Hockey. People are going to have opinions about what I said and that's fine. I cannot control what other people say about me. At the moment I made the comments, I was frustrated and upset and emotional about the whole situation.

"If I didn't care, I wouldn't have said anything. But I do care about USA Hockey. I want it to be better for people in the future. I know those guys very well at USA Hockey and I plan on privately discussing with them on ways that things can be improved. I've always been proud to play and represent my country and I want to win every time we go out on the ice. But again, I would not have said anything if I did not care. But I do care. I hope that I can help."

"I'm glad to be back in Dallas and back to the NHL season. My focus right now is on the Dallas Stars and the playoffs coming up."

Fellow Dallas Star Bill Guerin fully supports his USA teammate.

"Mike said (the original comments) at an emotional time, but he said it because he cares about the program," said Guerin. "It is something that he's put a lot of time and effort into, like all of us and he wants to see it get better. USA Hockey has come way to far over the last 20 years to start going backwards and that is something that none of us want to see."

Guerin was asked his opinion on what is the biggest area that USA Hockey needs to improve upon.

"I think the number one thing is simply, on the ice," said Guerin. "This year's NHL Draft will prove that young U.S. players are going to give us a strong base for the future of USA Hockey. We might have the top two ranked guys in the draft this coming summer. USA Hockey has a good future."

Stars Head Coach Dave Tippett also showed support for Modano, and knows that all of the members of the team stand behind him.

"I think our whole team supports him," said Tippett. "Mike Modano is a stand-up person and he is passionate about this game.

"I can tell you that he really has done a great job as captain of our team this year. He has been a real leader in our locker room. He doesn't yell and scream all the time, but when he does speak up he has a lot to say. The guys in this room respect him and know he is a good leader."

Like Modano, Stars goalie Marty Turco also practiced with the team for the first time since returning from the Olympics.

"It's great to be back with the guys," said Turco. "It was a tremendous experience to be part of Team Canada but there is nothing like your own team. It feels good to get back to work with my teammates."

Turco looks forward to getting back to NHL play.

"We're going to get right back to it and focus on getting some wins," said Turco. "We have 24 more big games left in the regular season and we want to finish strong."

Guerin, who returned to practice Monday, also was glad to get back to work.

"The Olympic Break was good for everybody, but I am definitely excited to put that Dallas Stars jersey back on and play these last 24 games before the playoffs," said Guerin. "I think we just have to get better over the next 24 games. Going into the playoffs we have to be doing the right things and be clicking as a team. That's our goal."