If Dave Tippett wants more from Mike Modano, as he stated Sunday after a 3-1 loss to Montreal, does he need to give Modano more to work with?
In Tuesday's win over San Jose, Modano played on a line with Loui Eriksson, and looked good. Eriksson is a lot like Jere Lehtinen, so he can be either an offensive force or a defensive player, meaning Modano has the opportunity to play on a strong two-way line. Brian Sutherby then played with James Neal and Fabian Brunnstrom, and had a great game. Mike Ribeiro, who played with Steve Ott and Mark Parrish did not have a great game.
So, in the past two games, Eriksson was moved up to the top line with Ribeiro and Ott, and Neal and Brunnstrom played with new Stars center Brendan Morrison. Ribeiro's line has responded very well, while Modano has not been great while playing with Brian Sutherby and Chris Conner.
So, if you put Modano with Neal and Eriksson, do you think he would play better? Or, does he just need to suck it up and play whatever role Tippett places him in, and play hard? Modano is an interesting study, because it is difficult to tell if he's really into a game. But, he also puts up with a lot more than most superstars his age have to.
Joe Sakic is not going to be put on a checking line. Neither is Mats Sundin. Those guys get to play with great wingers. Modano often is asked to make his linemates better. So is this a Modano problem or a coaching problem? It could be a little of both, but what's your take? _Mike Heika