If you’re anything like me, this morning was spent searching for answers about the debacle at Joe Louis Arena last night. The Red Wings went from 60 to zero faster than a speeding car hitting a brick wall, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why things went wrong. Sure, giving up a pair of backbreaking goals in just over 8 seconds may have something to do with it, but there’s more under the hood when it comes to this story.
Specifically, Mike Modano.
I blame the freakin’ mess on him.
Now, before we go any further, a disclaimer: I have never had an injury like the one he is going through and I hope that I (or anyone else for that matter) never experience any pain close to this. Gruesome. Tough to stomach. These are all thoughts that come to mind.
However, there’s much to be said for a man who can pick up the pieces of a shattered dream (or tendon) and put forth an infectious optimism that rallies the team and sets the soul aflame. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Mikey Mo brought that to the Joe with him on Monday when he visited his teammates, fresh off their successful west coast swing. What do I mean? Well, let’s start with the wardrobe. As you can see in the above picture, Modano is clearly rocking the emo vibe with the all-black ensemble, trading in team spirit for self-pity and inner anguish. From the hat, to the shirt, and even the cast, it’s a one man (Welcome to the) Black Parade of feeling sorry for himself. Sure, he’s repping the Detroit Jazz Ensemble, so there’s SOME city pride, but c’mon. Jazz? At a time like this, Modano needs to dig out his most prized Eminem or Kid Rock shirt and make an unspoken statement about kicking ass and coming back with a vengeance. Jazz tells me that he’s spending more time searching for answers in the inside of a wine glass than he is picking himself up by the bootstraps and getting his mind right for a Stanley Cup run this spring.
What’s that you say John Niyo?
As for learning to live left-handed, well, he hasn’t mastered much yet.
“Holding wine,” he said, smiling. “Good at that.”
Oy. Let’s hope it’s at least a RED wine.
So what do you expect to happen to his closest friends after seeing their teammate in such anguish and turmoil? They collapse. They let Dany Heatley and Juicy Couture come in to their home building and take control of a game. No, the Wings didn’t lose because they were tired or outplayed. They lost because the pall of Modano’s inner struggle cast itself across everyone in the building, from the fans, to the team, to the concessions vendors. You know what I’m talking about. The crowd was just a little too quiet. The team was just a little too subdued. If I would have been there, I’m guessing the beer wouldn’t have tasted quite as good either.
Enough though. I’m not here to pick on you Mikey Mo. I’m here to ask you to pick up the mantle of leadership and responsibility and to turn this shit around. Instead of being sad about what “could have been,” it’s time to put a smile on your face, put a red shirt on and head into the locker room and do tricks with the stitches that are sewn into your fingernails (GROSS, BTW.) Instead of doing your best “Sad Keanu,” it’s time to treat this as an opportunity to contribute to the team in different ways, like whacking some hockey sense into Jiri Hudler via your cast of doom. Hell, give the cast a nickname or something. Make it scary and intimidating though, like “Judgment Day” or “Leonard”. If you aren’t going to be funny, at least be motivational, and nothing screams “DO GOOD!” like the threat of getting bitch-slapped by “Leonard”. I’m just sayin’.
I’ve got faith in you Mike. It sounds like you’re ready to turn the corner, but just need one final push…
“I think the opportunity’s still there, I think it’ll still be there in March when I come back,” added Modano, who still craves “the opportunity to take one more last run at it.”
No, Mike. You KNOW the opportunity is there and you KNOW it will be there in March when you come back better than ever. Whether you believe it or not, you better make us believe it. Because if you don’t, then it’s time for me to go put on my black shirt and helmet, make a sandwich, grab my favorite box of Franzia and sit in the park with Sad Keanu.
I know better, though. I know you’ll be back.
Rest up. Get healthy. And make sure your rehab includes doing some shoulder presses. You’ve got a big cup to lift in July.
Modano photo courtesy of The Detroit News