Mike Modano hasn't made a concrete decision about his hockey future, but he has narrowed his options down to two specific choices: play for the Red Wings or retire.
"There isn't any other team," said Modano, standing outside Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch's suite at Comerica Park Tuesday night. "It will be here or I'm not playing. I think it's narrowed to that."
While it has been previously reported that a decision is "not imminent," Modano sounds like he wants to get this process moving relatively quickly. Considering he's not going to be taking any other visits based on his above comments, right now it's simply a decision of to play or not to play.
"The last couple of years have been tough and they've taken a toll on me, mentally more than anything else," he said. "Physically, I still feel fine and I can play, but you have to try and get that excitement back about playing.
"If I could get it here, it's probably a given with the talent and the type of team they have. To be able to go out winning another Stanley Cup, that would be phenomenal."
[...] "The sooner the better," Modano said of his decision. "I know they would love to get an answer so they can get their cap and their roster situated. I don't want to delay this."
I would not be surprised at all if Modano does decide to retire, but if I had to predict right now, I'd say that he ends up signing with the Wings. Detroit badly wants to sign him, and the Wings fit Modano's criteria as far as competing for a Stanley Cup goes. What's more, as Modano alluded to previously, to be able to play on the same team as guys like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Nick Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski is a unique opportunity for someone in his situation.
I could see why he would opt for retirement, but in the end I think this will just be too good of an opportunity to pass up. No, the money won't be out of this world or anything, and he's not going to be anything more than a third-liner. But to be able to close out your career by returning home and being on a team that should compete for a Stanley Cup is pretty special.