Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Modano hits 500

Top American goal scorers
502 - Joe Mullen
500 - Mike Modano
491 - Jeremy Roenick
470 - Keith Tkachuk
468 - Pat LaFontaine
415 - Tony Amonte
406 - John LeClair
359 - Bill Guerin
342 - Ed Olczyk
342 - Scott Young
This season
35 - Jason Blake
34 - Chris Drury
31 - Bill Guerin
28 - Brian Rolston
27 - Zach Parise
25 - Erik Cole
24 - Keith Tkachuk
24 - Brian Gionta
24 - Chris Clark
23 - David Legwand
23 - Lee Stempniak
22 - Jamie Langenbrunner
18 - Chris Higgins
17 - Jeffrey Hamilton
16 - Mark Parrish
16 - R.J. Umberger
Mike Modano hit that magic 500-goal mark yesterday, a milestone that makes him just the second American-born skater to do so. There's really not much question he'll become the all-time leading scorer in that category, something that could happen as soon as next week.

It's unfortunate that Modano's big night came in a season where he's missed 23 games and seen his scoring totals slump back into that 25-goal, 50-point range he fell into in that awful season before the lockout. In 2003-04, the excuse was some crippling financial debts that reportedly wiped out much of his considerable savings, but this year, old age is to blame for much of his decline.

Modano's going to be 37 in a few months, and will likely play out the string with two or three more seasons with a Dallas Stars team that appears destined to remain a middling playoff team ad infinitum.

He'll probably hang on long enough to skate for the Americans at the Olympics in Vancouver as a 39 year old, ending an international career that has seen him be a part of Team USA since suiting up for the world junior entry in Moscow in 1988 as an 18-year-old.

He's also one of only eight players to score 500 goals while playing his career entirely with one franchise, going from Minnesota to Dallas and winning a championship, just as Joe Sakic did from Quebec to Colorado:
"We've been through a lot," Modano said of the fans. "Dallas kind of resurrected my career after Minnesota. I felt it was a fresh start — and teaching the fans the game and growing with them to a level we never thought it would be. ... The fan base has really meant a lot to me in my career. I wanted it to be here."
And, when he does finally hang them up, there'll be a fierce debate whether or not he's the greatest American player the game's ever seen.

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At 3:20 p.m., March 14, 2007, Blogger mike w said...

I can't stop looking at his teeth. THEY ARE SO WHITE.

At 11:10 p.m., March 14, 2007, Anonymous Eric said...

It's a tough debate.

Roenick, Lafontaine, and Chelios all in their primes, were very impressive players. I could probably say the same for Tkachuk and Mullen. I do think Modano deserves some credit for having a mostly consistent career of hovering around 80 or more pts. I can't believe he's never had a 100 pt. season in the NHL.


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