Face it, tonight's Game 4 could be the last game of Mike Modano's Stars-studded career. I know! It's not a guarantee, just a frightening possibility. With Detroit having sucked the drama from the series, at least it gives us some motivation to tune in to Versus at 7 p.m.
The Stars could find a way to sneak a win from the mighty Red Wings and the series could live another day or two. Or, even with a loss, Modano could decide that 18 years and 528 goals isn't enough and return next season.
Still, if Dallas loses you'd better give him an extra 10 seconds -- no, make that 10 minutes -- of adulation before he skates off the ice. Just in case.
Before the playoffs I talked to Modano out at the Frisco StarCenter and he hinted that he was at least contemplating hanging up his skates. Something to the effect of "You go out there and give it your all, and then when the season is over you reflect and decide on retirement." In other words, his answer to "Are you retiring?" wasn't a definitive "No."
I know it's blasphemous, but consider how weird it will be without Modano around. Like the Cowboys without Roger Staubach, the Sidekicks without Tatu, Channel 5 without Harold Taft and the Cotton Bowl without Dallas.
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For 14 years he's been the face of the franchise in Dallas, the guy who influenced you to go to Primo's, and the stud your girlfriend had the very public crush on.
Sure, the greatest American-born hockey player has lost a step or two. But his legacy as the man most responsible for growing hockey in Texas is already secure.
I'd tell Mo' to stop spittin' Chicklets, grow a pot belly, do some serious canoodling with wife Willa Ford and get busy on his bucket list. Maybe call up Snoop Dogg and throw his own Mike-a-palooza. Whatever.
Win or lose tonight, his work here is done. -- Richie Whitt