Tag Archive for San Jose Sharks

Mike Modano: The Kid From Michigan And How I’ll Remember Him

by Dylan Nadwodny
Mike Modano on Ice

The dark jersey flapping in the wind behind him as he skated by all who stood in his way towards the defenseless goalie. We all remember that. The kid from Livonia, Michigan drafted #1 overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. The kid that would forever change hockey in Dallas on a level nobody has, or most likely will ever do. And on March 8th, 2014, that kid steps on the ice once again to have his famous number 9 lifted to the rafters in the city that made him so famous.

Hockey in Dallas? Nobody would have ever thought of such a thing until 1993 when the Minnesota North Stars moved down south to North Texas. Norm Green brought the franchise down to Dallas amidst outrage from those he left behind in Bloomington and the “State of Hockey”. Norm was looking to win, and win fast when he moved the team to Dallas. As any fan that attended a game in the Dallas Stars’ 20th Anniversary season remembers, Green uttered the words at that first game at Reunion Arena, “And now we, the Dallas Stars; all of us and all of you, have a message to send to the NHL: Don’t Mess With Texas!” In a matter of five short years, the pieces were in place to prove that statement to be true. None more prevalent than the ever humble assistant captain, Mike Modano. Along with Stars greats such as Craig Ludwig, Derian Hatcher, Ed Belfour, Brett Hull, and Joe Nieuwendyk, the young Modano and team did what Norm envisioned from the start. They brought a hockey championship to the city of Dallas. The 1999 Stanley Cup put the Stars on the map for the next few years as they made it to the playoffs and the Stanley Cup Finals the next year, unfortunately losing to the New Jersey Devils in six games. The image of Mike Modano raising Lord Stanley, though, will forever be engrained into the minds of every Stars fan.

You ask almost any NHL fan the first player they think of when you mention the Dallas Stars, and it will most likely be Mike. You ask me what I think of when I hear the name Mike Modano, and one word comes to mind: legendary. The man who compiled both the most points (1,374) and goals (561) for an American born player can be described as nothing more than an icon to not only the city of Dallas and the Stars franchise, but for the United States and hockey as a whole. Mike Modano to me is the epitome of what a star player should be. He lets his play on the ice do the talking for him, has the awareness to know what to do in the situation he is presented, and knows exactly what to say. In searching for adjectives to describe Modano, none that I can think of can accurately define what he means to both myself and any Stars fan I come across. The iconic image that I will always remember is that black jersey flailing like a bat out of hell on his way to scoring a highlight reel goal. As I often like to say, “Once a Star, Always a Star”. Now, with his number being immortalized for as long as the Stars exist, the #9 will always be used by one man, and one man only. The great Mike Modano.

Imagine, what a young kid from Michigan could do for hockey in Texas. Make it evolve from almost an impossible shot in the dark to a full fledged reality and franchise for North Texans to be proud of. I sit here today, in 2014, looking back on all the years I can remember watching Mike Modano, oblivious to how great he was until he began breaking records. Only after watching him grab the all-time American points scoring lead did it dawn on me how special he really was. I always had a sense that he was a great player within the organization, but he was never one to flaunt accomplishments around as many people would think, which is why I believe it never hit me until that night against the San Jose Sharks on November 7, 2007, where he would capture the record on a shorthanded breakaway goal. Only then did I realize and fully understand that he, in my mind, is undoubtedly the greatest American born player ever.

Looking back on the career of Mike Modano, many will agree with me in saying that there might never be another American player like him. His loyalty, determination, toughness, and dedication separated him from virtually everyone else and made him into what people remember him as today. The icon that will be forever associated with the Stars and the city of Dallas. In a city known for men such as Troy Aikman, Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, and Tom Landry, to name a few, Modano is easily up there with them, and I believe always will be.

 

Mike Modano. Once a Star. Always a Star.

 

(Photo Source: USA Today)

Playoffs?! Yeah, I’m Talkin ’bout Playoffs!

by Sami Hage
Todd Marchant upsets Andy Moog and the Dallas Stars in the 1997 Stanley cup playoffs

Since we won’t be seeing anymore hockey this month or next, let’s reminisce (again) about some of our favorite post season times here in Dallas while we trust our fearless leaders to take us into the playoffs next year. It was hard to find pre-1999 clips so this is what I can show you in words and pictures. Here are just three of my more memorable moments (besides the given game six in Buffalo in 1999), let’s hear some of yours too!

-Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarter Finals in 1999. The Stars swept the Edmonton Oilers that night in one of the longest games this franchise has ever seen (longest at that time for both teams). Despite Dallas winning all four games in this series, I remember it being a tough, grueling one. This overtime winner deflected off of Joe Niewendyk to get past Tommy Salo. 56 shots….56. Insane. Here’s the post game from that night which includes an analysis by the young Ralph and Razor duo.

-The next year, the Stars made a huge run to the finals and faced the red hot New Jersey Devils. The series was not ideal for Dallas from the beginning. With New Jersey up 3-1, the Stars were facing elimination in New Jersey. Mike Modano stepped up and ended it to extend the series to a game six (lost in overtime) as we endured another late night of cut-throat hockey. Here’s a recap.

-This last one brings us back to our last taste of playoff hockey in recent memory. I think you might know where I am going with this one. Facing and defeating division opponent San Jose in the Western Conference Semi-Finals was not expected of the fifth seed Stars in 2008, but with an early series lead, the Stars had a few opportunities to close out the Sharks. It was yet another very long night for many of us. Many things stand out in this game. The goal tending was elite, the excitement was end to end, even in overtime. We saw our former captain in Brendan Morrow at his best. His mammoth hit on Michalek at the end of regulation set the tone for the overtime periods, and not to mention his clutch game winning goal in the fourth overtime. I would just show that goal, but the clinic put on by Turco and Nabokov needs to be done justice as well. The energy was surreal in the AAC. See it for yourself below.

Goosebumps.

What playoff moments stand out for you in the past 20 years of Stars’ hockey?

The 1998 Playoffs – Conference Quarter-finals

by Matt Day
This is Part 1 of a three part series about the 1998 Playoffs and “The Best Game I Ever Missed”. Watch for Parts 2 to come on April 9th and 12th, 2013.

 

1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Photo Credit SportsLogos.net

1998 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Photo Credit SportsLogos.net

After finishing second in points in 1997 the Stars were upset in the first round by the Edmonton Oilers. Determined not to let this happen again the Stars made big news signing free agent Ed Belfour in the offseason. Struggling early in the season with his new defense Belfour finally got into the groove and lead the team to its first President’s trophy and the team’s best record ever, to that point. The playoffs were here again and first on his plate was Eddie’s last team, the San Jose Sharks.

The San Jose Sharks went all out at the trade deadline in 1997 to get Belfour from the Blackhawks in hopes they could work out a deal to resign him. It did not work out and this was their chance for payback with their new goaltender and playoff MVP from last season, Mike Vernon. The payback however did not involve the men between the pipes.

The last season had taught me that with all the excitement that went with playoff hockey also came moments of extreme bitterness. The previous year was my first as a season ticket holder and being upset in the first round had taught me such bitterness. I was 0-4 in playoff games because all four losses in that series were at home. I was eager to end that streak and to taste playoff victory for the first time.

I did not take long for this series to get ugly. Bryan Marchment of the Sharks, who was known for his cheap shots on the other teams key players went to work and may have prevented the Stars from skating the Cup a year early. Marchment took out Joe Nieuwendyk’s right knee and forcing him out of the game. This was only game one of the playoffs and even though the Stars dominated the game in a 4-1 win the victory was bitter-sweet. All my thoughts were on if and when Joe could return. Nieuwendyk was the Stars leading scorer for the season and a huge loss for the team.  Our worries were confirmed when we learned that he had suffered a torn ACL and would be out for the season. The Stars went on to dominate game two as well and you couldn’t help but think this series was over. Someone forgot to inform the Sharks of that though as they took the next two in San Jose to tie the series.

Game five in Dallas again was a nail bitter as the Stars escaped a close one with a 3-2 win. I was living and dying with every shift. Every goal for or against was leaving me on emotional highs or lows. Game six was in San Jose and we really needed to end it there because I was not ready for another game seven. It was another close one and when San Jose forced overtime I could only think, “Oh no, here we go again!” I would have been devastated had the Sharks scored and sent us to another game 7 in Dallas. Another chance to watch my team exit early in round one again would have been too much to bear. Trade deadline acquisition Mike Keane eliminated my fears and the Sharks with his overtime game winner. Injuries to Nieuwendyk and Jere Lehtinen crippled the Stars, but it did not keep them from winning the series in 6.

The Sharks provided a few firsts for me in hockey. My first ever Stars game I went to was a victory against the Sharks in 1995. My first playoff win and series win as a season ticket holder came this series as well as one more first. A tradition was born that series. To celebrate the playoffs my cousin and I wanted to try something different. We noticed a booth outside Reunion Arena that offered free face painting and so both of us had our faces painted all three games of the series. It was fun and we didn’t really think anything of it until a fellow season ticket holder informed us of an interesting coincidence. Having already painted up our superstitious friend had thanked us and pointed out that our personal records were 0-4 without face paint and the Stars were 3-0 when we dawned the war paint. Round one was tough but over it was now time for some revenge in round two.

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