One of the greatest American hockey players is hanging up his skates for good.
Mike Modano announced yesterday that he is retiring after 21 seasons in the NHL, a career that includes a Stanley Cup championship along with 561 goals and 1,374 points -- both of which are records for U.S.-born players.
"It's just time," he said in a phone interview from Dallas, taking a break between playing 36 holes of golf. "I didn't get any calls after July 1 and I figured that was it."
Only it wasn't. The 41-year-old Modano said Vancouver assistant general manager Lorne Henning offered him a chance last week to continue his career with the Canucks.
"I told him I had to pass because I hadn't touched a weight or unzipped my bag since we lost in San Jose," he said.
Modano ended his career as a banged-up player who had lost a step and some zip off his shot during his one-season stint with his hometown Detroit Red Wings. A skate sliced a tendon in his right wrist and limited him to 40 games and career lows with four goals and 15 points with the Red Wings.
"He was on the verge of really producing for us before he got injured," former Red Wings teammate Chris Osgood said.
In Modano's prime, he was among the best -- shifty, speedy and with a tough-to-stop wrist shot. He also played in three Olympics, helping the Americans win silver in 2002.
"His speed was his strength," said former NHL player Chris Chelios, a teammate in the Olympics. "He had a great shot -- hard and heavy -- and he was tough to stop once he made a turn and generated speed."
The Minnesota North Stars selected the native of Westland, Mich., No. 1 overall in 1988. Following the franchise's move to Dallas, he helped the Stars hoist the Stanley Cup in 1999.
Modano was in his prime when the Stars were among the NHL's elite a decade ago.
"He was invaluable in helping sell the game of hockey in Dallas," Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said. "Mike is the face of our franchise and I think it is safe to say that no one else will wear No. 9 for the Dallas Stars."