Mike Modano Retires: Top Five 'Mo'ments of His Career

Daniel GrossmanContributor IISeptember 21, 2011

Mike Modano Retires: Top Five 'Mo'ments of His Career

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    After 21 seasons in the NHL, Mike Modano will hang up the skates for good.

    He will go down as arguably the greatest American-born player of all time and has a shot to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.

    "Mo" gave Dallas Stars fans over 557 chances to get out of their seats and cheer (four for Red Wing fans), was a seven-time All-Star and was instrumental in bringing Dallas their first Stanley Cup in 1999.

    When he was selected first overall in the 1988 NHL Draft by the Minnesota North Stars, ownership, teammates and fans expected Modano to be the future superstar of the franchise for years to come and he didn't let them down.  

    Modano was one of the most graceful skaters to grace an NHL rink, owned one of the sweetest snap shots in league history and was always one of the most widely respected and well-liked players across the league.

    So with this in mind, we take a look at the top five moments in Mike Modano's career. 

5. 50-Goal Season

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    When the Minnesota North Stars came to Dallas in 1993, hockey was not the most popular sport in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

    The people showing up to Reunion Arena to watch the new pro sports team in town didn't know what icing was or that fighting was just a five-minute penalty.

    Dallas needed a reason for fans to come out and watch and Modano gave them 50 of them.

    Fifty goals is no easy feat as it has only been done by 86 players in NHL history.

    Modano never got to fifty again in his career but his 93-94 season was crucial not only for his personal success, but also for the success of hockey in Dallas.

4. 500 Goals

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    A 500-goal season has always been and will always be one of the greatest milestones any player can obtain.

    On March 13, 2007, Modano scored his 500th goal against the Philadelphia Flyers when he flicked a rebound off a John Klemm shot past Antero Nittymaki midway through the third period.

3. "Alone at the Top"

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    Everyone knew Modano was going to pass Phil Housley's record 1,232 points by an American-born player sometime during the 07-08 season.

    The question was when.

    On November 7, 2007, Modano was able to get the puck behind the San Jose defense, with some help from longtime teammate, Jere Lehtinen and take off on a breakaway.

    With his jersey flapping behind him in that most recognizable of ways, Modano was able to maneuver the puck through the legs of Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, giving him the record.

    Modano would finish his career with 561 goals and 813 assists for a total of 1,374 career points. 

2. Final Game as a Dallas Star

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    Mike Modano was never an outspoken player. He spoke through his actions on the ice rather than with his tongue.

    He always wore his emotions on his sleeve, never fearing to shed a tear or two if the occasion called for it.

    But on April 8, 2010, Modano's tears were streaming.

    Late in the third period of a tied game with the Pacific Division-rival Anaheim Ducks, there was a brief break in the action.

    A video was played on the American Airlines Center video board of Modano thanking the fans for their support during the season.

    This 30-second video turned into a full-fledged five minute standing ovation for the greatest Star in franchise history. Fans knew that Modano's time in Dallas was soon coming to an end so they took the opportunity to thank him.

    It is one of the best examples of a relationship between an athlete and his fans.

    After all of the celebration, there was still a game to be won and Modano made sure that the fans would get to see a win. 

1. 1999 Stanley Cup

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    For any NHL player, winning the Stanley Cup is the dream.

    When Brett Hull put the puck past a prone Dominik Hasek 14:51 into the third overtime, the entire Dallas bench erupted in celebration.

    And who's arms did Hull rush into following the goal? His good friend Mike Modano's.

    The sheer joy that was across their faces said that there would never be a moment to top this one the rest of their careers.

    Modano's dream had finally become a reality and easily makes this the most important moment of his career.