This morning - after last night's 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens - the Dallas Stars are a mediocre, irrelevant team besieged by injuries, struggling to stay around .500 and in the Western Conference playoff hunt while blaming Mike Modano. Said coach Dave Tippett after the game:
"We expect more from Modano ..."
You see what happens when you're missing Brenden Morrow, Brad Richards, Jere Lehtinen and Sergei Zubov and you've already cut your built-in scapegoat? Suddenly, fingers are pointed at the pretty face of the franchise.
I won't pretend to watch
any enough hockey to break down exactly why Modano has deteriorated into Nodano, but I have some guesses.
He's 38. His best teammates - Morrow, Zubov, Lehtinen and Richards - are all out with injuries. Modano may still be the team's poster boy, but he's no longer its best player.
With Modano scoring just once in the last 20 games, the Stars - gritty as they are - are slowly sinking in the West. After the loss to Montreal - a franchise-record sixth consecutive defeat at home - Dallas woke up today in 9th place with a record of 31-27-8.
Without production from Modano, the Stars won't make the playoffs. But without the return of the players clearly better than him, this season is merely one big penalty-kill anyway.