I’m in a weird place as a hockey fan. As a kid, I was an avid Minnesota North Stars fan, and rooted for them even after I left Minnesota and then joined the service. Then I lost all interest in hockey when the North Stars moved, and by the time I had moved to a city with an NHL team (St. Louis) there was a lockout going on.
I never developed an attachment to the Wild as I haven't lived in the city since they came to be, and I find it difficult to root for a former rival. But growing up as a North Stars fan was fun. There were 21 teams, eight of them hailed from Cananda, the North Stars played in the bruising Norris Division of the Campbell Conference, and the old green jerseys with the N and the star were the coolest in the NHL.
Once I left Minnesota, I caught a game every now and then on ESPN, or when I came home, but I always read the one or two paragraph caption in the paper. Then came the 1990-91 season, and the North Stars made an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals, taking a 2-1 series lead before dropping the next three games. That run came on the backs of goalie Jon Casey and a core of about 4 other players—Dave Gagner, Brian Bellows, Neal Broten…and Mike Modano. Modano scored 20 points during their run to the Finals, his second of 21 seasons.
What has he done since then? Well, he’s only become the NHL’s all-time leading American born scorer, all-times record holder for goals by an American born player, all-time record holder for playoff points by an American born player, and games played by an American-born forward. He holds numerous Stars records, to include games played, goals, assists, and points, both in the regular season and playoffs.
Does Modano have anything left? I don't know. Can he bring anything to a .500 team trying to find an identity in the post-Lemaire and Gaborik era? I don't know that, either. He has a lot of miles on his legs, but can it hurt to see if he has anything left, or wants to give it a shot for one more season?
I do know I got goosebumps when he was the No. 1 star after the last game of the season at the X, and he came out and skated around sporting the Green and Gold.
It was an emotional moment for a lot of Minnesotans who remember "the other hockey team" and still have an affinity towards them. It would be a nice way to help connect the past to the future, and help bring everything full circle.
And I think it would be a nice send off for one of the Good Guys.