x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Modano's retirement may not be on his terms

Not with a bang, but a whimper. Is that how Mike Modano, the all-time leading NHL scorer (559 goals) among Americans, will depart the league?

Not with a bang, but a whimper. Is that how Mike Modano, the all-time leading NHL scorer (559 goals) among Americans, will depart the league?

Modano, 40, flirted with retirement at the end of last season when he was informed by the Dallas Stars - the only franchise he had played for - that they did not intend to re-sign him.

But rather than retire from the sport, Modano returned to his home state of Michigan and signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

In a perfect ending, he envisioned skating out of the NHL as a Stanley Cup champion, perhaps scoring the cup-winning goal just a few miles down the road from his hometown of Livonia.

Modano's game had fallen off in recent seasons as he lost much of his speed, and he admitted to not being in Wings-worthy shape when this season began.

But he scored in his first game, was the centre on the third line and getting some time on the power play.

He was happy, content to contribute as a role player after two decades as the main focus of opposing defences.

Now this. A fluke injury has left Modano with a wrist laceration that might cost him the rest of the season - and, by extension, might cost him the rest of his career.

It is a tough and tragic way for one of the best players of his generation to have to leave the game. Particularly for Modano, who has been an exemplary role model for ice hockey players in the US throughout his career.