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03/06/2014

A Q&A with the most important athlete in DFW history

Mike-modanoNo athlete meant more to his franchise in North Texas than Mike Modano. He won a Stanley Cup, is arguably the finest American-born player in his sport, and unlike Staubach, Nolan or Dirk there was one thing Mo' had to do the others did not.

Modano had to sell, and teach, a region to a sport they previously had little exposure to before the Stars relocated to Texas in 1992. Even to this day, Modano remains the face of the franchise.

On Saturday, Modano will have his No. 9 jersey retired at the Stars' home game.

Ever the good sport, and always honest, Modano participated a Q&A I did with him this week.

Miss the game at all? There was a little bit of tug of war when I first ended. The way it ended – I was injured with the Red Wings. There was no storybook finish. That last part just didn’t sit well with me.

Favorite game? There are a bunch. Those Game 7s against Colorado in the Western Conference Finals in 1999 and 2000. The San Jose game when I passed Phil Housley. But the (Cup winner in '99) Game 6 in Buffalo.

Mike-modano-retires-2011Worst game: Probably the game where I got hurt my last year in Detroit. The wrist injury. That was bad. 

Record that means to you the most? The point total. That’s pretty special.

Did you take it for granted when you played? The guys that were around me made sure I was humble and grounded and to make sure I didn’t take it for granted. That the career could be over in a blink, or that it would short. Guys made sure I knew that. 

Part of the game you miss? The games itself, and competing. Getting ready for a game. Once the game started, that’s where were escape was.

Craziest thing a female fan ever did to get your attention? The one that stand outs was girl who flashed us. It was at the Staples Center. We were on the bench, and she was sitting across from us. We had a TV timeout, and she did it. I don’t know what year it was. I told one my teammates, 'Watch the girl - watch it again.' She did it again – and I think she was escorted out.

Piece of advice you would give: That’s it’s fast. It’s over in an instant. It may seem long. Don’t think of it as work – it’s fun. It 

UnknownShould NHL players play in Olympics? I think it’s run it courses. Go back to the World Cup or Canada Cup. Play it in the summer. You don’t lose the momentum or the schedule. I’d like to go back to the World Cup – in Montreal or MSG and you have that in great venues.

If you were commish of the NHL, what would you change? Can’t really say. Everyone wants to tweak rules to increase scoring but it’s hard when goalies are 6-6 or 6-5. Guys can do more now. The players are quicker and better. There isn’t as much net to shoot at. You start moving around the size of the net or the size of the ice, then you are impacting the history of the game. 

Player you enjoyed playing with the most? Brett Hull is one. Jere Lehtinen. Sergei Zubov. Mike Keane, Kirk Muller, Brian Skrudland – never a dull moment. Eveyrone was in a good mood with those guys.

Player you hated playing against? Scott Stevens.

Player you wish you had been a teammate with? Joe Sakic.

He was a center. As a linemate? I wish I had about 7 or 8 or 9 years with Hull.

What do you want to do when you grow up? Tough to say. I have not found a niche outside of where I am now, which is working with companies and trying to re-establish relationships with businesses (the Stars) had. That has been fun.

Twitter @MacEngelProf

tengel@star-telegram.com

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