Welcoming Them Back

Posted: October 13, 2010 by Realdeal in Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, NHL, Philadelphia Flyers, Tampa Bay Lightning
Tags: ,

The last time Simon Gagne had played for another team besides the Philadelphia Flyers, he was suiting up for the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts in 1998-99.  In an era of free agency and jettisoning players, Gagne was the one constant for the Flyers for ten seasons.  Mike Modano had been with his franchise even longer, debuting with the Minnesota North Stars in 1989.  When the North Stars moved to Dallas in 1993, Modano went with them, and spent the next sixteen seasons as a member of the Dallas Stars.

In the past offseason, both players said goodbye to their respective clubs and joined another franchise for the first time in their NHL careers.  Thanks to the salary cap, Philadelphia was forced to trade Gagne, and his $5.25 million salary, to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas decided to move on from the Modano era. Modano contemplated retirement, but decided to join the Detroit Red Wings for the 2010-11 season.

An odd sight for Flyer fans.

In a weird twist of fate, both Gagne and Modano will be returning to the cities they spent their whole career with tomorrow night.  The Lightning head to Philly for a game that’s on Versus, and the Wings travel south to Dallas.  Both the Flyers and Stars are expected to have some sort of pre-game video for their respective players.  This was after the Flyers did not include Gagne in a montage of last year’s highlights, opting to save them for Gagne’s return.

Gagne is looking forward to returning and seeing all the people who work in the Wells Fargo Center that he knew.  Flyers coach Peter Laviolette expects Gagne to get a positive reception, as did former teammate Danny Briere, as he was well liked in Philadelphia.  He said the hardest part of the whole trade was getting used to a new city.  Being on the ice was easy for him, especially playing with new teammates Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.  Gagne said the video tribute is going to be tough, but is glad it’ll be early so he can just focus on just playing afterwards.

Modano after being drafted by the North Stars.

Modano said he did not know what kind of reception he would get, as he’s now with Detroit, and the Red Wings usually get booed in Dallas.  Regardless, he’s looking forward to his first trip to Dallas as a visiting player.  Modano scored in his first game as a Red Wing on Thursday against Anaheim.

What does the future hold for both of these guys?  Gagne is a free agent at the end of the year, but hasn’t quite ruled out resigning with Tampa Bay.  Modano, who is 40, is nearing the end of a great career, was contemplating retirement last summer, and if he has no suitors after this season, he may have to hang up the skates.  Whatever the future holds for these two, the chapter in their careers that they have closed was a great one.


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