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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings: Is Modano Here To Bolster The Wings, Or Here For The Ride?

Detroit Red WingsMike Modano’s return to his homeland of Michigan brought with it great memories. But not just of Modano’s glittering career with the Minnesota North Stars and Dallas Stars franchises, as an exceptional forward and the highest scoring American player in the NHL. His tally of 1359 points from 1459 games was staggering, and many veteran players have found there twilight years bolstered by a spot in the Red Wings roster (see Brett Hull, Dallas Drake, Luc Robitaille, Steve Duchesne and Fredrik Olausson), often with winning results.

The Wings are carrying a number of veteran players right now, with their roster holding Lidstrom, Modano, Bertuzzi, Osgood, Rafalski, Holmstrom, Salei and Draper, all of whom are over 36. The locker room must resemble something like a 1980’s disco, maybe with Chris Osgood in flares, and Holmstrom with a great handlebar moustache?

Will Modano make the same kind of impact as Dallas Drake did in 2008? Unlikely, as Drake was a third liner who threw his body, and played hard, whilst Modano is more of a skill and finesse player. Mike’s points tally of 14 from 33 games (and just 4 goals) is a little disappointing, especially as we as fans had high hopes, but let’s not hammer the guy. His injury earlier in the season was pretty horrific, with an errand skate slashing his wrist wide open. Modano was lucky to have the use of his hand, let alone carry on playing hockey.

The other question, is whether Modano will make a good playoff veteran. It’s clear that Modano has class, but quality players can all too often go MIA during the post-season. Perhaps what will make a big difference, will be the locker room influence, and the feeling of security that Modano brings to younger players.

There are many jokes about the age of the Red Wings roster, but the truth is, that there’s also plenty of new talent with players like Emmerton, Mursak, Helm and Kindl all needing a guiding hand through their early seasons in the NHL. Who wouldn’t want the experience of a seasoned veteran to assist you, and a top scoring one at that?

Although Mike’s adding to the Red Wings makes them almost Grandparents to teams like the infant Edmonton Oilers, the league standings do not lie.

To go deep into the playoff you need the right mix of youthful energy, physical strength and stamina, and veteran knowledge and reliability. Modano looks to be able to provide the latter, and at least be a consulting mouthpiece for the others. I’d rather enter the playoffs with him in my locker room, than without him, and I hope Mike Babcock feels the same.

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