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NHL’s Modano sticks to his goals

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U.S. hockey might not be the best in the world, but Mike Modano is still arguably the best American-born forward, and here’s why:
  • At the end of last season, he’d scored 507 career goals, the most by any U.S.-born player, despite playing with the Dallas Stars in the Sun Belt. “Can you imagine if he’d been drafted by Detroit or Pittsburgh?” says former teammate Brett Hull, a Canadian with well over 700 goals.

  • Modano was his team’s fulcrum when it won the 1999 Stanley Cup. He remains loyal.

  • Even though he didn’t have family at the Turin Olympics, he spoke out for team members whose families got stuck with shoddy transportation. “That’s why he’s a good leader,” says a fellow Olympian.

  • Modano remained close friends with the Stars’ new captain and continued as the team’s best player last season.

  • Even when his stick cools, Modano still manages to contribute. He started last season by scoring eight goals in the first 12 games. In a later contest, he won 15 of 18 face-offs, including 10 of 11 against the league’s best face-off player. “When I had Mike,” says a former coach, “he didn’t even have to score a point to be the best player on the ice most nights.”
Lesson: Feast or famine, don’t let anything shut you down.

—Adapted from “The Best We’ve Ever Had,” Michael Farber, Sports Illustrated.

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