This was supposed to be a frenzied hockey year in Dallas. New coach (Marc Crawford), new GM (Joe Nieuwendyk) and renewed optimism.
But let's face it, the season got off to a slow start in October and now the Stars stink. With only 10 games remaining in the NHL season, they are 13th out of 15th teams in the Western Conference. I was down in the West End Saturday afternoon after Dallas' victory over Ottawa and the fans were pouring into Dick's Last Resort full of enthusiasm and post-season hopes.
But after a disappointing 2-2-2 homestand, the playoffs are unrealistic.
So, too, is the chance of long-time face of the franchise Mike Modano returning for another season. Or is it?
The 39-year-old has been out since undergoing an emergency appendectomy March 15. He won't go with the team on their four-day road trip that starts tonight in Nashville. His contract expires at the end of the season.
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A career that introduced Dallas to hockey and brought the Metroplex its last major sports championship feels like it's taking its final breaths.
"I thought about it, definitely," Modano said this week. "It's been on my mind all year."
Modano's working to come back for a few games. Not for some magical, miracle playoff push but rather because he knows this might be the end. It'd be a shame if hockey's greatest American-born scorer's career ended without him being able to take some bows on his home ice.
It already feels like the Stars are slip-sliding toward irrelevance. Without Modano, where will this franchise be?