Modano and Gagne Return Home


Written on 10/15/2010 by Jim Cerny

I found it quite interesting that Philadelphia and its fans gave a warmer reception to ex-Flyer Simon Gagne upon his return to The City of Brotherly Love last night with his new team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, than the Dallas organization gave Mike Modano (photo) upon his return with his new club, the Detroit Red Wings, also last night.

Gagne, who was a salary cap casualty this summer being shipped to Tampa after ten seasons with the Flyers, received a long ovation during his first shift and then a sustained standing ovation at the conclusion of a moving video highlighting his career was shown on the scoreboard during a play stoppage.

Modano, the 40 year-old sure-bet Hall of Famer who spent the first 20 seasons of his career with the Stars---both in Minnesota and then in Dallas---decided to continue his career this season after signing with rival Detroit during the summer. Last night the fans treated him with love, but the Stars organization simply chose to put his picture on the scoreboard with a simple "Thank You Mike" message.

Perhaps the Stars organization, including GM Joe Nieuwendyk---a former teammate and good friend of Modano's---felt that proper tributes took place in Modano's final home game in Dallas last April and that both sides have moved on. If so, that was a mistake because the fans turned out to salute Modano last night, and the organization should have done so, as well.

Modano said afterwards that he is relieved to get on with the rest of the season now. With one goal and a -2 plus/minus so far, Modano still is looking to find his footing with the Red Wings.

Same goes for Gagne, the reluctant Bolt, who is pointless and a -4 in three games for Tampa Bay.

Here are two excellent takes on Modano's return to Dallas and Gagne's return to Philly.


A few other NHL observations:

The Islanders are fun to watch: No Mark Kyle John James Wisniewski...No Problem! This hungry and gritty team does not quit and they play an entertaining in-your-face style, plus these kids are growing up and learning to score. There may be a lot of 5-4 games in their future, but who says that's a bad thing? Rally from two down to force overtime against Dallas. Rally from 4-3 down late in third to beat the Rangers 6-4. Lead Washington for a long stretch of the game only to lose 2-1 on the road without four of their best players. It's early, but these guys really may be a pain in the ass to play against this year.

Minnesota Turns Up The Power: The Wild picked up their first win of the season last night, using four man-up goals to power past Edmonton 4-2. I tuned in on Center Ice mainly to get a look at Edmonton's talented kids---Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi---and instead had my eyes fixed on Minnesota's captain Mikko Koivu all night. His play was inspirational, leading his club back from a 2-1 hole to the 4-2 victory, not just scoring the tying and winning goals, but there was a look in his eyes that all great leaders have. The Wild needed someone to be a difference maker, and Koivu made sure that it would be him.

Hey! What Is This, the NFL or NBA?: A bit of a rough week publicity-wise for the NHL. Isles d-man James Wisniewski graphically shows Sean Avery what he can do with his, um, stick in full view of fans and TV cameras to become a YouTube sensation. Stars forward Mike Ribiero and his wife are arrested for an incident outside a Dallas bar. Thank goodness news broke that Brett Favre took pictures of his crotch and sent them to a Jets employee a couple of years ago, and that Sports Illustrated's cover story is about an agent decsribing how he illegally paid off college football players, or else people might start confusing the NHL with the NFL or NBA!

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