Mike Modano talks with teammate Sergei Zubov during Game 2. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
There is no denying Mike Modano’s greatness.
But when you look at the success the Dallas Stars have enjoyed during his tenure, he is at his very best when the team has another offensive threat for the opposition to deal with.
Modano was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, but it wasn’t until Joe Nieuwendyk arrived on the scene the Stars actually won the Stanley Cup.
And really, Modano is not a lot different than many other stars. When was the last time you saw one player lead a team to the Cup. Perhaps 1993 when Patrick Roy steered the Canadiens to the championship? It doesn’t happen often.
Bobby Orr needed Phil Esposito; Wayne Gretzky needed Mark Messier; Mark Messier needed Jari Kurri; Mario Lemieux needed Jaromir Jagr; Jaromir Jagr needs…Sean Avery?
You get the idea.
This season Mike Ribeiro is Modano’s Nieuwendyk. An under-achieving and under-appreciated center with Montreal, Ribeiro has blossomed in Dallas. No politics there, you know.
I wondered if Ribeiro had what it takes to vault his game to the next level at this time of year and quite frankly I had my doubts. But having observed him through a round and a half, I have changed my mind.
This guy has courage.
He willingly ventures into the danger zone, knowing full well he’ll be banged when he gets there, and has reaped the benefits.
And the better he plays, the better Modano will play. And the better Modano plays, the greater the Stars’ chances of winning the Cup.
Some additional thoughts about Game 2…
Don’t count out the Sharks. They have proven time and time again they can bounce back from adversity…No Joe, no chance…If the Sharks want to win, they had better work on their first pass out of the zone. Too many passes ended up in the skates of the intended receiver…Brad Richards seems to like to score in bulk for the Stars, as his four points in the third period would indicate. That would come in handy if Dallas makes it to the final.
THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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