I thought my daughter, Samantha, had a texting problem.
Come to find out, texting may just be the norm these days.
During the Red Wings’ courtship of Mike Modano, that proved to be the case.
On July 6, just days into the NHL free agency period, Detroit made its pitch to the future Hall of Famer, who was tossed aside by the organization he had spent his entire career with.
Modano spent the day with general manger Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock and later took in a Tigers game in a suite at Comerica Park with his father.
The Wings had their sales pitch down.
They sold the Westland native on …
1. A chance to play in front of his parents.
2. A chance to play in the state he grew up in.
3. A chance to compete.
“We think we’ve got the makings of a real good team,” Holland said. “Let’s see when we get on the ice. We think if Mike Modano can play as well as I think he can and Mike Babcock thinks he can; and Nicklas Lidstrom can play as good; and Jimmy Howard, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk all play as well as they can, we have the potential to have a really good hockey team. We told him that.”
4. With veteran players, the Wings take some of their minutes and some responsibility away.
“You’re going to enjoy it because it’s a formula to success,” Holland said.
A day went by.
Two days were crossed off the calendar.
A week had gone by and still no word from Modano or his agent.
Holland began to panic, slightly.
“I was having a conversation with Mike Babcock trying to figure out what our next move should be,” Holland recalled. “We wanted to try and get him engaged.”
Holland got his wish the very next morning.
While driving somewhere in British Columbia, Holland heard what I hear a lot living under the same roof with a 13-year-old daughter, “PING”.
(Instead of a “PING” under my roof it’s ‘I Like It’ by Enrique Iglesias. I’m quickly starting to dislike that song for as many times as I hear it.)
Holland looked at his phone and it was a text from Modano.
The 40-year-old, who was still undecided with what he was going to do this season, sent Holland a text, “How’s it going?”
“Out of the blue Mike sent me a text,” Holland said. “I looked at it and it was 972, I know his number.
“That’s the first time I thought he was a little engaged and a little intrigued about playing hockey for the Red Wings,” Holland added. “We started texting back-and-forth the next few days and it kind of got us back on track. He and I have become text friends. We texted non-stop.”
All of the phone calls, and perhaps texts, from current and former Red Wings made to Modano seemed to have been working out.
But little did Holland know of the true ace he had up his sleeve.
Modano admitted to having no grudges towards the Dallas Stars for not re-signing him after spending his entire career with the organization. He did however say it would motivate him this season.
It’s his wife, Mandy, better known by her actress/stage name Willa Ford, that has more of an ax to grind with the Stars.
“I think it was more so on my wife’s radar than anything,” Modano said. “She wanted me to go play, and especially in Detroit to kind of shove it up everybody’s … you know what.
“That was her precise words, and she felt it was a great opportunity to do that in Detroit and loved the Red Wings and knew it was one of our rivals,” added Modano, whose first chance to stick it to his former team will come on Oct. 14 which coincidently is Dallas’ home opener. “She felt going in there and having the chance to play with good players was a real good opportunity.”
I don’t know if Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk got a text from Modano’s wife or not after the organization cut ties with him.
If he did, I don’t think a ring tone of Enrique Iglesias’ ‘I Like It’ was attached to it.