After all, Modano -- a Michigan native -- had not announced yet whether he intended to play in 2010-11. The Stars basically decided they'd best move on without the 40-year-old, whose play has been in decline since shortly after the lockout ended.
Almost a week into free agency, Modano has still not made up his mind about playing another season. He's been with the North Stars/Stars organization since he was drafted first overall by Minnesota. While we don't know if he'll choose retirement, Modano has said he's down to just one team if he does want to lace the skates up again.
Instead of an emotional reunion with the fans of Minnesota, Modano says he'll go home and play for the Detroit Red Wings if he plays again.
"There isn't any other team," said Modano, standing outside Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch's suite at Comerica Park Tuesday night. "It will be here or I'm not playing. I think it's narrowed to that.It seems like it could be a good fit. It gets Modano close to where he grew up, and it puts him on a great team with a great coach, plenty of locker-room leadership, and a good chance to win.
.. "This is kind of intriguing," he said of the opportunity to finish his career in his hometown. "It's a great team, a great situation as far as coming home. There are a lot of positives to it."
Now, Red Wing fans get to play the waiting game. General manager Ken Holland said Modano would serve as the Wings' third-line center, and that means the veteran should see plenty of ice time, enough to make his comeback worthwhile. Of course, now Modano has to decide if his aging body can take another 82-game grind. If it can't, will he and the Wings work out a plan where he can still be part of the team while limiting his workload a bit?
Would Modano even want to do that?
It might not be the biggest drama of the NHL offseason, but Modano is one of the best American-born players in the sport's history. His decision to quickly narrow his options to Detroit or nothing is telling, because he knows he can probably get more ice time elsewhere. Detroit is home to him, and this is a chance to end his career on a winning team.