"We brought him here for the playoffs."It turned out that line was complete and utter BS. I'm still pissed about it, because if it wasn't, I think the Wings would be facing Boston right now.
Signing Mikey Mo from the beginning certainly created a divide within the fanbase. Heck, it even created two entries in The Production Line's glossary:
Nodano :: Like Todd Bertuzzi’s signing in 2009, fans were divided regarding Mike Modano’s addition to the Red Wings roster. Nodano was the term given for those against the signing. See also: Prodano.From the start, I was always Pro-dano. Heck, looking back, I think I may have started the push, or at least gave it a nudge with this post on June 22, 2010:
Modano finishing out his career in Motown actually makes a lot of sense.
Modano's still a solid player, putting up 30 points in 59 games with a terrible Dallas team last season. I saw him play twice and he still looked like one of the best on the ice. He's a hard worker that would fit in well in a third line role.
Moneywise he'd have accept damn near an entry level contract, as the Wings have zero to spare. But would you rather have a Miller or a Modano on that third line?Yea, I'm "that guy" who quotes himself. A little embarrassing for sure. But even looking back, the move still makes sense to me. That's a hell of a third line there. Babcock agreed and thought it wasn't even going to be a one and done for #90:
"We think he'd be a good fit for us and excited to play for us and we think he'll have a real good year. If he comes to us I'm a big believer he'll end up playing again next year, too. I think he's got that kind of legs left in him. And remember, he's not coming here to be the guy; he's coming here to be one of the guys."
Now the season didn't go quite how we expected, after a quick early goal, it took awhile for things to get going for the hall of famer and just when it did, a quick slice placed him on the bench for most of the regular season. It sucked, but from the beginning, we knew why we signed him--the playoffs.
When the opposition was tired of facing Datsyuk, Zetterberg, the Mule, and Bertuzzi, we would be able to continue to fire away by throwing yet another future hall of famer out there while they were responding with some chump like Kyle Wellwood.
It was the kind of depth no other team can dream of. Injuries suddenly weren't scary anymore. "Oh, Zetterberg is out for a game or two? How about we replace him on line one with a guy who....oh I don't know, has scored more points than any American....ever?" Yeah, that's pretty bad ass.
And he's won more of these than the entire San Jose franchise ever will while they continue to employ Joe Thornton.But we never saw that dream come to fruition. The playoffs came and went and Modano...sat. A healthy scratch in every playoff game but two, Modano's experience was used only in deciding whether to get onions or onions and relish on his hot dog from Joe Louis's concession stand.
I wasn't happy when he sat against the Coyotes, but Babcock showed that he knew how to beat Phoenix and he didn't need Modano to do so. Ok, fine. You know better than I Mr. Babcock. Modano's not a grinder and we had enough scorers compared to Little Gary's team. Filling in for Franzen made sense and he did a pretty good job in game four, garnering an assist.
When the Sharks came along in round two, Babcock decided to continue going with the lineup that worked in round one. Only problem was that it didn't work this go around. After two straight losses against a team that just seemed to have a few more weapons and speed, Babbles changed it up by...putting in Draper. What happened? Another loss. It wasn't until Franzen realized that you need to have two working feet to skate that Modano filled in again. Babcock played him a merger 8 minutes and 15 seconds, yet Modano gave the Wings a bit of an offensive threat from their lower lines.
Game seven comes around. Franzen is still a cripple, leaving the Wings without one of their one of their main offensive threats. So when replacing an offensive threat, choosing between a future hall of famer and a guy who I've always believed has only scored in his lifetime because of pure luck, Babcock chose the aging grinder.
Pissed.Game seven began, Bertuzzi and Cleary were knocked out of the game, and suddenly all the Sharks had to deal with offensively were Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Down one goal and having played our dazzling duo for 9 of the last 10 minutes, Detroit had to put Eaves, Helm and Abby on the ice for the last 30 seconds of the game, only to have Eaves whiff on a onetimer with seconds remaining. I'm not faulting Eaves, it was a tough shot, but I remember thinking to myself how nice it would have been to have someone who's had that pressure on his shoulders his entire career taking that shot rather than a hard working forth liner.
So why did Babcock suddenly hate Modano more than Joe Thornton hates hard work?
Maybe it was his comments about retiring before the playoffs began. It was a weird thing to say and rubbed me the wrong way, but this can't be it.
What else could it be though? I certainly have no idea. Unless we find out that he was pulling a Delonte West with Babcock's mom, it's going to annoy me to the end.
Because, while I know Modano wasn't what he was a few years ago, Detroit didn't need that to beat SJ. The series was maybe the closest seven game series in history. The Wings needed just a tiny bit more of...something...to find themselves ahead in the end. That "something" might have been the 1,500 career points sitting on the sidelines. Why was that? I'll be still pondering that mystery while we watch the Canucks demolish the Bruins to borrow what should have been returned to its rightful owner this June.
I agree with Peter Morey. If Bert and Cleary don`t get hurt, we win Game 7 and this is a moot point. Clearly Babs saw something in Mo that he didn`t trust. Gotta trust him on this one. I like Mo and I was all over this signing from Day 1. But, things didn`t work out. It is what it is.
Nice piece Chris. I think you're actually on the right track. While I don't pretend to understand Babcock's mind, I do know that hard-work, dedication, and loyalty are really important to him. In interviews, Modano seemed to talk about the wings as if he WASN"T a part of the team. And this was happening before he actually wasn't (in the playoffs). I think the retirement comments just before they were gearing up for the playoffs was pretty bad and indicative of a player whose head isn't quite in moment. I think these things make a huge difference. I think Babcock choose Draper because he knew when push came to shove Draper would do anything for this team. And thats what you need when the season's on the line. Both Drapes and Modano had retirement on the mind, but Drapes actually cared about the team and thats huge.
I hope he plays another year too. I think he got severely shortchanged this year. There is an interesting interview with Modano on nhl.com. You can read it here,
I agree, I think he should have played in the San Jose series over Hudler/Abby/Eaves/Franzen, fill in the blank.
oops.... delete that period at the end of the link for it to work. Sorry about that. Try this one!
teddywings. Great article. I'm not sure if I want him to play another year, I'd want Kenny to be convinced that his heart is in it and I'd want Babcock to be convinced we could use him, but if that was the case and he had something to prove, I'd be for it.
Thank you Chris! Excellent post I couldn't agree more. As I said in a previous post, not playing him in game 7 was one of the dumbest decisions I've seen in professional sports. I've liked him in every game he played, and I didn't really see him make any ridiculous mistakes. And both games he played, we won.
Brilliant report. I agree with every last bit of what you said. Putting in guys like Hudler (who had a terrible playoffs from the get go) Abdelkader (not a single point in the playoffs) was just pure bullshit. I hope Mo does indeed play another year (hopefully healthy). He's one of a kind and he still CAN play and could skate with the best of them!
The reason Nodano sat was because 8 minutes seemed to be all he had in him. The retirement comment just proved how mentally checked out he really was. I'm not pissed at the guy anymore. I think anyone would want to play another year after what the Stars did to him. The reason we lost wasn't because Modano wasn't in the lineup, but because we lost Cleary and Bert in 2 freak accidents. Both those guys have been difference-makers and would have gotten us a win, I believe. Say what you will about Drapes but he was a healthy scratch even more than Mo, yet the guy worked his ass off and when the team needed him he was in game shape and ready to roll. That's the difference between a true pro and Mo.
@Pmoron So Mo isn't a true pro, I have to diagree sir and also question your hockey evaluating credibility. It's fair to disagree playing him, but quite another to deny what a great player he was and is. Besides, having any lineup change to what we had would have made a difference, because pass for pass the game obviously wouldn't have been identical, and with Mo in the lineup I don't see how it possibly could have been worse. Yes we lost two players to injury, but neither Huds or Drapes equates to Modano, stop kidding yourself.
With Mo in the games could easily have been different. In fact I believe they would have been.
But what I don't get is why we are even talking about Mo vs Draper. Mo should have been in for Hudler who looked lathargic the entire playoffs.
Hey, maybe Hudler was out he would not have ran over Cleary in game 7 because he was dreaming about Russia.
I think even if Mo did have a lack of effort, he still worked harder than Hudler.
@Pmoron Fair enough, but I really disagree that's all he had in him. He played around 13-16 minutes the entire season and had a very good game in Phx. In those 8 minutes he played against SJ, he had 3 shots. Says something. I think to say he was out of shape is making a jump at the very least and maybe simply wrong. Draper is a hell of a player and an all-time great Wing, this wasn't meant to be anything against him. But to fill in for Franzen, draper isn't someone who'd I would choose. Draper's a fourth liner, we needed a second liner.
@Pmoron Looking back at your comments I see a common theme: a major dislike for Modano. That's fair, but I don't think that I could ever sway you with any blog.
@Pmoron That's understandable, I just saw someone that was more effective out there then you did.
I did question his commitment at times, mostly because of his comments rather than his play though.
@moorecha I don't dislike Modano at all, as I said. I was thrilled when he signed and thought it was an incredible signing! I totally agree with your point about Drapes being a 4th line guy. Blame the wrist injury or the fact that at 40 and having gone through the rigors of an 82 game season for his whole career he didn't have the energy to train like he used to... I'm not criticizing, I don't know how anybody puts themselves through that. At the end of the day I just don't believe he was a 2nd line guy, or in shape to play those minutes and Draper was. I was a little harsh with the pro comment, maybe team player was a better term. But at the end of the day I'm always impressed with the old guys who work and train tirelessly to get themselves back in the lineup and I don't see Mo having done that...