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Mike Modano retires after 21 seasons, announces decision via Facebook

Sep 21, 2011, 2:09 PM EDT

modanogoodbyeap AP

Some might argue that he made the decision a year late – especially Dallas Stars fans – but Mike Modano announced his retirement from the NHL via his Facebook account today. He’ll hold a press conference to make it official on Friday.

Now that Modano chose to hang up his skates after a lengthy and prolific career, the debates about his legacy will begin. With seven All-Star nods and one Stanley Cup on his resume, he has the hardware to back up his impressive stats for a Hall of Fame bid.

An All-American career

The more lively debates will revolve around where he ranks among the best American born players in NHL history. As far as sheer quantity, Modano is unmatched (although Chris Chelios has the most games played, with 1,651). Modano tops all U.S.-born NHL players in points (1,374), goals (561), playoff points (145) and all forwards in games played (1,499).

Much like Steve Yzerman, Modano drew praise for becoming more defensively responsible in order to help the Stars win that Stanley Cup in 1999. He also compiled those staggering stats without many seasons alongside a high octane winger, which shows off just how special he was.

A tough end for Modano

On the other hand, the “quantity over quality” argument could hurt him against other American-born players who might have shined brighter for shorter periods of time. Aside from an impressive first season after the lockout (77 points in 2005-06), Modano’s production dropped off significantly beginning in the 2003-04 season. Last season was probably the worst campaign of Modano’s incredible career, as he managed just 15 points in an injury-marred 40 regular season games with the Detroit Red Wings, who often made him a healthy scratch during the playoffs.

It wasn’t a great ending for Modano, who opted against his storybook conclusion with the Stars to end the 2009-10 season. That shouldn’t take away from his outstanding career, which helped build the Dallas Stars into a successful team – and some might say a rebuttal to the claims that the NHL cannot work in “non-traditional” markets. Here’s Modano’s announcement via his Facebook page.

After a long summer of thinking about my future, I’ve come to the decision that it’s time to retire as a player from the NHL. There’s way too many people to thank here at this time and too much to say, so I have a press conference scheduled for early Friday afternoon. Check back Friday late afternoon for more. What a great ride it’s been!

What’s next for Modano?

Again, you can gripe all you want about his timing, but Modano should finish his playing days with the clarity that he maximized his potential. Now he can move on to whatever the next stage of his life will be – Modano discussed working in the front office for the Stars or doing some studio work – with his wife Willa Ford by his side. His future is enviable whichever way you slice it.

Some people are just gifted, but it’s nice (and rare) to see them make the most of their talents. Modano certainly fits into that category, regardless of where you rank him among the all-time best Americans.

  1. trbowman - Sep 21, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Next stop Hall of Fame.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 21, 2011 at 5:03 PM

      Too bad he made himself endure that final season rather than hanging ’em up as a Star

  2. philiplewis1 - Sep 21, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I was there for his first game as a Dallas Star and watched him over the years, time and again leading that team to overachieve. He was a classy guy that fit in perfectly with the Dallas sports scene and everybody loved him. Even got an autographed puck from him from an appearance at Oshman’s Sporting Goods one year. He will be missed. He deserves every accolade that comes his way.

  3. keepyerstickontheice - Sep 21, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    “…and one Stanley Cup* on his resume”

    *skate in the crease

  4. dlk75150 - Sep 21, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    There will never be anyone classier than Mo. He is hockey in Dallas and he will always be the face of the Stars. I hope the Stars find a permanent place for him no one deserves it more.

  5. polegojim - Sep 22, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    Great Decision Mike. Let people remember you for your best years.

    And nice job James – His results and years in Dallas dictate that he should be remembered as a Dallas Star.

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