Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Born on this date in Livonia, Michigan in 1970, Mike Modano opted to play Canadian junior hockey with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League beginning in the 1986-87 season. His impact was immediate, as he scored 32 goals and 62 points in 70 games. After following that up with a 47 goal, 127 point season in 1987-88, Modano became only the second American to be selected first overall in the NHL Entry Draft, after Brian Lawton, by the Minnesota North Stars who were also the club who took Lawton #1 in 1983.
He played one more season with Prince Albert, scoring 105 points, before joining the North Stars for the 1989-90 season during which he made a virtually seamless transition to the NHL with 75 points in 80 games, which instantly made him a fan favorite in Minnesota.
During his second season in Minnesota, the team went on a miraculous run through the playoffs, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals despite a 27-39-14 regular season record. Modano contributed 20 points in 23 playoff games for fifth on the team in playoff scoring.
After two seasons of knocking on the door, Modano had his first 30 goal season in 1991-92 with 33. He repeated his 33 goal total in 1992-93, while his 60 assists propelled him to a career high 93 points.
The North Stars franchise was moved to Dallas for the following season where Modano repeated his 93 points, only this time thanks to a career high 50 goals which no doubt helped sell the game of hockey to the fans in Texas thanks to his speed and flair.
Starting in 1995-96, Modano began a period of being a regular 30 goal scorer, hitting that mark in six of the next seven seasons and scoring in the 80's six of the next eight, a streak that coincided with him becoming an alternate team captain.
The Stars went a long playoff run in 1998 which served as a precursor for the 1998-99 season when the franchise won it's first Stanley Cup in over 30 years of trying. Modano contributed 23 points in 23 games to lead the team in playoff scoring.
The Stars again returned to the finals the following season as Modano again tallied 23 points in 23 playoff games, one behind the team lead.
The 2000-01 season saw him score his 1,000th NHL point and he surpassed the 1,ooo game mark in 2002-03. Modano was named team captain for the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons, with the 2004-05 season being lost to the NHL lockout.
He would play four more seasons in Dallas which included scoring his 500th NHL goal on March 13, 2007 and his 503rd goal to pass Joe Mullen for the record for most goals by an American-born player just four days later.
Modano celebrates his 500th NHL goal
Early in the following season Modano broke the record for most points by an American-born player when he passed Phil Housley with a shorthanded goal on November 7, 2007 for his 1,233rd point, a feat which was recognized by a phone call from the president!
At the conclusion of the 2009-10 season his 20 seasons with the Stars organization came to an end when it was announced he would not be re-signed. After much speculation concerning his possible retirement, Modano opted to sign with the Detroit Red Wings for the 2010-11 season but a deep cut from a skate severed a tendon in his hand, limiting him to just 40 games although he did return in time to participate in the playoffs.
To date, Modano holds records for the Most Goals by an American-born player (561), Most Points by an American-born player (1,374), Most Playoff Points by an American-born player (145) and Most Games Played by an American-born player (1,499) as well as Dallas franchise regular season and playoff records for games, goals, assists and points.
Today's featured jersey is a 1998-99 Dallas Stars Mike Modano jersey as worn during the only Stanley Cup championship of Modano's career which came after leading the team in playoff scoring.
This style Dallas Stars jersey was first worn as an alternate jersey during the 1997-98 season and mimicked the style worn in the 1994-1997 NHL All-Star Games. Even though it was an alternate jersey, Dallas opted to wear it during the playoffs and won the Stanley Cup while wearing this jersey.
Following their Stanley Cup championship, the Stars promoted this striking jersey to their primary road jersey and created a white version to be worn at home. This style remained in use through the 2005-06 season until being replaced by the new Reebok Edge jerseys. As great as a jersey as this one was, the ones that replaced it were among some of the worst of the new styles by far.
Our video section begins with a look at the career of Mike Modano, which includes footage of his first NHL goal, his 500th and his record setting 503rd goals as well as commentary from Mike himself.
Here, Modano becomes the leading American scorer in the history of the NHL.