Mike Modano, considered by many to be the greatest American-born player in hockey history, gave the hockey world an enticing piece of scuttlebutt during a press call on Monday that announced his induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
According to NHL.com, Modano has begun training again.
What is he training for exactly? As of right now, there is no certain intention. After 21 seasons of professional hockey, it probably beats sitting around, playing EA SPORTS latest incarnation of simulated verisimilitude.
But indulging reporters and rumor factories in attendance, he spoke out about his future plans regarding a return, bluntly stating, “I don’t know.”
"You look at things and you wonder, 'What's the worst thing that could happen?" Modano went on, "I mean, I get in better shape. I don't know what's going to happen with the CBA and everything, but I mean, one more year? That kind of intrigues me."
Modano’s final season in the NHL left something to be desired. After years of stabilizing a franchise and constructing a winner in Dallas, the Livonia, Michigan native returned home to Detroit to finish his career. He only played half the regular season in 2010-11, handcuffed by a nagging wrist injury that kept him out three months. Modano lamented his disappointing swan song.
"I think my last year in Detroit was a lot of fun, and I wish it would have ended differently, with the injury and everything. I wish it would have ended better, and there's a taste in your mouth about leaving the way it was it still haunts me."
According to Jess Myers of 1500ESPN.com in Minnesota, if Modano were to return, a very likely candidate for his services could be the Minnesota Wild.
Modano was drafted by the Dallas franchise when they were located in Minnesota and spent four very productive years in St. Paul before the franchise was relocated. Many fans of the Wild may scoff at the idea of a 42-year-old attempting his return to the grand stage, especially given the recent developments in the Twin Cities this offseason (see #parise, see #suter).
But many fans nostalgic for the days of the Minnesota North Stars, who had to watch arguably the greatest American-born player cement a legacy in another city in another state where hockey is not king, would be more than happy to welcome back Modano for one more year and allow him to retire his career in the same place that it started.
Regardless, Modano’s options are limited if he does decide to return. His days of producing 70+ points are gone, and he will undoubtedly be used as a bottom-six forward with limited playing time. Offers are going to be slim pickings, and realistically, it will be hard to see Modano end his career in a city that is not Minnesota or Dallas.
The Wild have a surplus of centers, but Modano will come with a ton of publicity and a low cost. If the former superstar center decides he is going to return anywhere, he should choose Minnesota.