Hall of Famer Mike Modano chats with Wild, Auston Matthews, USA Hockey and … interior design
Mike Modano knows a thing or two about hockey.
The Hockey Hall of Fame played 21 seasons in the NHL, recording 1,374 points (561 goals and 813 assists) in 1,499 games for the North Stars / Stars and Red Wings. His goals and points tally are at the top of the list of players born in the United States.
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He also knows a thing or two about winning. In 1999, he scored 23 points in the playoffs to lead the Stars to the franchise’s only Stanley Cup. And he won an Olympic silver medal (2002) and was a member of the upset US team at the 1996 World Cup.
But does he know anything about interior design? That will soon be determined as the Minnesota Wild executive advisor has teamed up with Little Caesars and Pepsi for a hockey fan to get an Ultimate Hockey Hangout designed by him. The contest runs from now until June 8th.
So will the guy who was the equivalent of fine art on ice have the same aesthetic in the set? This remains to be determined. But until then, Sporting News recently sat down with Modano to discuss a number of topics, including decoration, USA Hockey and the Wild’s post-season odds.
Editor’s Note: Conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Sports news: What are your design plans and is it going to look like a lot of [the Dallas Stars color] Victory Green?
Mike Modano: The hangout probably, [will be] very soft, very large and comfortable. I’m not sure about Victory Green; might have a little green, red, and black in there with the Wild. But yeah, I’m thinking of a comfy oversized couch, a cute pizza heater and some Pepsi in the fridge and maybe some bubble hockey between periods. We’re going to find something pretty neat.
SN: Do you have some kind of place like this in your house to watch hockey games?
MM: I used to have kids. Now it’s like fortune. So I have to put the comfy sofa in there, but I’m missing all the fun stuff I used to have: coolers and microwaves and hotter ovens in my little TV rooms. Now that’s a lot of toys and Hot Wheels that I walk on and stuff, so it gets pretty loud. I’m trying to venture into a place where I can hide and in fact our rooms are now turned into a TV room, so at least I can lock the door.
SN: You played in a shortened season in 1995, so you kind of know what it’s like to have a little bit of that condensed schedule. And there were no fans, and still none in Canada. Does all this have an impact on the playoffs?
MM: Yeah, because you feel like it’s a bit of a drag race. Usually in an 82-game season you can kind of have your ups and downs and still run races there while creating a situation where you can make the playoffs and get in. But with 56 games, you have to be on your game for quite a while. But, with this trip, with the condensed schedule, you got injuries, you had the COVID situation. Thus, teams were slowed down in those situations where good teams lost good players who affected their schedule and affected their record as the season drew to a close.
I couldn’t imagine any fan. It just adds to all that level of playoff intensity and I know the Canadian restrictions are different than the U.S. But the U.S. is letting go a bit so I know some buildings may have a bit more capacity. come here. [It] just makes the big picture, the whole playoff meaning, more exciting for the fans and for the players,
SN: Speaking a little about the Canadian division, Auston Matthews is having a phenomenal year. And his shot makes him so deadly?
MM: Well, he does it in a hurry. He doesn’t really waste time with it and he has a very good idea of where to go. But you talk to a lot of good goal scorers, it’s just a matter of getting the puck on the net quickly. Not allowing the keeper to really set up and challenge the shooter and he has an amazing output and I think that’s half the battle to beat the goalies; Not allowing him to prepare and face you as a shooter. Also, he’s a big man, he’s a big guy, hard to move around, but he has good reach but certainly his hands are fast and it’s heavy and it comes towards you quite quickly. When you have these things and are able to get half a dozen shots per game, you’ll get some good basic goals.
SN: He is the first American to win the Rocket Richard Trophy, and the first American to win the scoring race since Keith Tkachuk in 1997, how important is that to USA Hockey?
MM: It helps in a phenomenal way. I think the growth of the game in those states where we never had hockey before the expansion to California and Arizona, Texas, Florida, I think it just increased the pool of hockey that we can take out. the players. He was a rare exception for Phoenix, the No.1 draft pick, travel to Europe to play ahead of their draft year, then the national team in Ann Arbor. It’s a rare exception, I think, to find someone coming out of Scottsdale and being the amazing player that he is.
That’s a lot for USA Hockey. It shows that the growth is there, the increase in popularity is there. Certainly for a player to win the Rocket, being an American, it’s fair, like you said, it’s never been done before, and I’m sure the way he plays, scores and creates doesn’t. probably won’t be the last prize he’ll win. Is.
SN: Your group of American players, you Doug Weight, Mike Richter, Brian Leetch, you have paved the way for this generation of American players. How does it feel to see where USA Hockey is now?
MM: I think there is a lot of pride that goes with it. I think as kids our outing goes back to 1980. I think for a lot of kids now they come out with the 1996 World Cup. I think the 2002 Games in Salt Lake against Canada were very attractive to those young people who were becoming world junior players and who could enter a national team. You look at this generation of kids now, there probably hasn’t been that much talent, probably since that 96 World Cup team for us. We have a lot of skills in [Patrick] Kane and Jack Eichel, Auston, the Hughes brothers. I mean, the list goes on, it’s growing. These next Olympics could be a great night out for a lot of these guys too.
SN: By obviously mentioning Connor McDavid, I mean what it was like watching him in his game and what he’s been up to this year.
MM: Oh, that was phenomenal. I think it’s fair, he’s on a whole new level. He’s just a level above everyone else. He’s just a rare player that everyone seems to want to watch. You feel entertained every night. I’m sure it kills Edmonton fans not to be in this building, sold out, to watch this and see the kind of season he’s put on.
I know everyone can’t wait to get into the building, same with our guy Kirill Kaprizov in Minnesota, the season he had for the Wild – and probably the Calder Trophy winner. Lots of great stuff that hopefully fans can watch here in person soon.
SN: As for the Wild, they have a spectacular season. Your thoughts on their chances in the playoffs.
MM: It was amazing. The turnaround has been tremendous. I think Kaprizov kind of added this exciting dynamic to their squad. [Mats] Zuccarello is in good health and is playing really well. So, they had a lot of good, positive things that got them into that momentum. They have played with a lot of confidence this year. They are well trained. I played with Dean [Evason] in Dallas for a few years and he [a] very simple and no-frills type and, being one of the guys in this room to help hire Bill Guerin, he’s kinda the same way; Just no nonsense, just don’t take excuses very well, either you show up and do your job or you’re not going to play.
They set the tone at the start of the season and the players seem to be buying it. . . Minnesota has always been known as a kind of “ meat and potato ” team, kind of low scoring style games. Now they keep pace with Vegas, keep pace with a lot of teams that can get up and down the ice fast and make a few plays.
I think their first round will be difficult. . . . They had their hands full. But, the point is to get in and when you get in you never know what can happen.
SN: Do you have a prediction as to who will win the Stanley Cup this year?
MM: I will try to have my Wild as my Dark Horse. But, I think, you look at Tampa, you even look at Pittsburgh has come in full force. The same teams seem to resume at the same time of the year. But our division, in particular, I think the Vegas-Colorado and Minnesota thing could be very interesting how that goes.