Friday, October 15, 2010

A Standing Ovation

Mike preparing for his 2009 calendar shoot

As I walked into the American Airline’s Center last evening for the Dallas Stars home opener against Detroit, I had no idea my Friday game day post was going to take on an emotional bent.

I expected business as usual for the game at which my two favorite teams would face off, but there was so much at play.  I don’t think I had truly wrapped my mind around the fact that Mike Modano would be wearing a Red Wings jersey.  My rational self knew this would be the case, and while I knew he would not be wearing Gordie Howe’s jersey (Clever Girls- Gordie Howe was number 9 on the Detroit Red Wings and easily one of the best players in the history of the game.  His number has been immortalized in retirement- so it was unavailable to Mike, who has alway worn number 9.), it still was absolutely shocking to me.  

Mike was truly the heart and soul of the Minnesota North Stars and then the Dallas Stars- the leader who didn’t need a C on his chest to lead.  He was the marquee player, handsome and magnetic- a man who put asses in seats.  Asses in seats who didn’t know center ice seats were not the same as seats at the 50-yard line.  Mike Modano was responsible in a big way for making hockey come alive in a city that had never seen ice let alone try to stand on it. 

I am not, in any way, minimizing Derian Hatcher’s quiet, stoic and effective leadership as captain- nor am I discounting Brenden Morrow’s capable execution as the new front man. As a matter of fact, from the day I met Brenden, I told his wife he was the future of the Dallas Stars organization.  I’m proud to know all three men and am impressed with how they have maintained their integrity and brought their teams to championships. 

My emotions were startlingly mixed to see Mike in the jersey I’ve revered since I was a child.  A Sterling Heights native- a young star in the state of Michigan- it is poetic to have him go home.  However, when I saw his face, as he received a four-minute continuous standing ovation, I actually choked up a bit.  He misses Dallas- his life was here for more than a decade.  What he accomplished as a Dallas Star might likely never be exceeded, records that might go unbroken.  He left a legacy here and the city of Dallas came to their feet to express their gratitude.  It was lovely.  Awe inspiring.  The true mark of the value of your presence is the appreciation that lingers when you leave. 

Brenden, me and his gorgeous wife, Anne-Marie Carbonneau Morrow
Brenden Morrow is a fantastic leader and a good man, loving father and husband (with a hot wife)- he IS the future of the Dallas Stars- but Mike Modano has left an indelible mark not only on the organization but the hearts of the fans. 

Mike will be an asset where ever he is- he holds the record for the most goals by a U.S.-born player and is a quintessential finesse forward (for Clever Guy’s Girls- this means he is a master puck handler and will find holes that don’t exist- could find the net in the dark and can skate circles around those in his way).  As the number one draft pick in 1988, the North Stars knew then what we all know NOW. 

We all wish you the best of luck and I'm expecting greatness out of you, Mike.  You are wearing my team colors now. 

Mike Modano featured at Hotel ZaZa in one of the Magnificent Seven suites
On a less kind note- I was horrified to see the Wings had not retired Bob Probert’s number, 24.  For Clever Guys’ Girls, Bob Probert was easily one of the most feared enforcers (thugs) of all time.  He spent the bulk of his career exacting revenge on players stupid enough to mess with his fellow Red Wings and then did a stint with the Chicago Blackhawks.  Either way, after more than a decade of battling substance abuse- he passed away a couple months ago from a heart attack while on a boating trip with his family.  I was devastated, as I’d known Bob for 20 years and he was, by far, one of the kindest, gentlest men I’ve ever met.  In light of his contribution to the Red Wings, I’d like request they retire the number.  Thank you.

OK- enough of this emotional shit.  Game day, game day, game day.  What do I want?  That’s easy- a four-game upset.  Auburn, Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin.  Why?  I love UT and hate to see them struggle- I understand everyone has to rebuild, but …  

UM because I detest what RichRod is doing to my team.  I said during my interview on ESPN radio that if RichRod allowed the defense to dismantle this season, he might as well jump in front of a bus- it’s not looking good for him.  He will not be back next year.  Clever Girls- UM is about to face some intense conference defense and Iowa is going to try to stifle Denard Robinson on the run.  So, I hope he’s taken the week to gain some confidence in the air- because if the MSU debacle was any indication of his depth against a strong offense- we are in a river of shit and trying to swim upstream. 

Wisconsin proves a challenge for OSU every year so let’s just hope upon hope they take a header on this one.   I need them to drop the ball so UM’s loss to State isn’t such a detriment.  Right now it’s looking to be MSU and OSU battling it out for the Big Ten Championship and while I will still be able to smile at being there- State won’t win it- so "it just doesn’t matter.  It just doesn’t matter.  It just doesn’t matter."  Clever Girls that is a line from "Animal House," easily one of the all-time Guy movies and a must see.  

Arkansas- needs to take a bath.  I want to make sure Ryan Mallet gains no Heisman cred because I fear he’s about to be knocked out of contention.  This weekend is going to be a huge upset for the Heisman hopefuls.

Taylor Martinez (Nebraska) will go up.  Denard (the current leader) will go down.  Terrelle Pryor will go up, LaMichael James is on a bye (Oregon), Kellan Moore (Boise State) will go up.  So big shake-ups.  Know this stuff, ladies- it’s invaluable. 
I am pretty sure that’s all you need to know for this week.  Big UPSETS WANTED.
I’m over and OUT.  Back at it Monday. 

For more on week 7, click here to go to my Bleacher Report article. 

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