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Mike Modano might have to leave the Stars if he decides against retirement

Jun 21, 2010, 3:00 PM EST

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Thumbnail image for Modano3.jpgMike Modano’s history with the Dallas Stars franchise runs deep. After all, the all-time American great’s experiences with the club predate the team’s existence in the Lone Star state, as many recall the images of a mulleted, Chipmunk-teethed Modano being a No. 1 pick for the Minnesota North Stars. To say he would be missed (and the images of him wearing a different sweater would be rueful) is an understatement.

But such is the often cruel nature of sports; even the most beloved of stars fade or depart their teams. Modano stated that he thinks he might have to play for a different NHL team if he decides against retirement while attending an event on Monday. ESPN’s Richard Durrett has more on the face of the franchise’s possible exodus.

Free agency in the NHL begins on July 1. At that point, Modano will see what kind of interest other teams have in him. But he hasn’t decided if he wants to play anywhere but Dallas.

“It depends what kind of interest and what teams,” Modano said. “I’d probably take two or three weeks in that month and see who comes calling and if there’s connection with those teams that call. I’d want to play for a competitive team, someone that might have a legitmate shot at it.”

Modano also said how he’s used on the ice would factor into his decision.

“It depends on who I’d play with and who I feel I can make some plays and make decisions with on the ice,” Modano said. “I just need help as far as quickness and pace of the game now. You can’t make it work the way you used to with any given linemate. You need help how.”

I’m one of those people who find it difficult to watch a star play beyond his or her prime. Modano fights that label but also lives up to it; while he is a smart player who still looks like the younger Modano at times, it’s clear that his best days are far behind him.

Could he be helpful for a team that could use a depth (maybe, at best, a No. 2) center? Probably so, but I felt like Modano’s emotional last games of the 2009-10 season were a fitting send-off to one of the best American-born players in hockey history.

While he’d ideally hang up his skates before his game slides too far, it’s obviously Modano’s choice to make. No one can tell a great athlete it’s time to go; besides, few people can understand the listless feeling a former pro must experience after living the life of a hockey star. Perhaps Brandon could speculate further regarding places where Modano would fit in well, but my guess is he could find a home at the right place and in the right situation.

I’m just not sure he should play for another team.

(H/T to Defending Big D.)

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