Wednesday the 7th of November, 2007 saw Mike Modano on the verge of American hockey greatness.
Going into Wednesday's night action against the Sharks, Modano was 2nd all time in points by an American in the NHL—second to the playmaking defenseman named Phil Housley. The original record of 1232 was set back in the 2002-03 season when Housley played for Chicago.
They always say that matching a record is a much easier feat then beating a record. Many players before him have gone through great slumps after tying a record or even sitting one point from tying the record. The nerves can really get to the player, who tries to either be selective about how he beats a record, or trying to hard to get the record going out of their comfort zone, slumping for what seems like an eternity.
For Modano his slump after tallying point number 1231 was just 3 games, a minor slump—if you can even count that as a "slump". Then came the best part of the milestone. 2:19 into the first period, Modano buried a slap shot past Evgeni Nabokov to tie the record. Not wanting to waste any time, Modano tiped a Jere Lehtinen shot 2 minutes and 15 seconds later while the Sharks were short handed.
You can say that it was two milestones in one game, while the fans and the players were still buzzing about Modano tying the record, he goes out and tallies a short hand goal (which was also the game winning goal, and his first SHG in about a year and a half) creating hysteria in the crowd!
It was a class act for the Sharks' fans to cheer and applaud their rival, showcasing that fans in the States do care enough about hockey to appreciate a milestone like this.
For those who don't know, the Stars did go on to win the game 3-1, to move into 3rd in the west and 1st in the pacific division. Matt Carle scored on the power play in the 2nd to make it a 2-1 game. The Stars sealed the deal in the 2nd when Steve Ott ended his 19 month goal slump scoring.
So what is next for Modano? He is just 7 points from moving past the great Peter Stastny for 34th on the all time points list. He is just 1 goal behind Gilbert Perrault for 32nd on the all time career goals list, and 4 assists behind Luc Robitaille for 40th on the all time assists list.
On a side note, Shark Jeremy Roenick is still seeking goal number 500 as he is currently sitting at 499 after scoring against Los Angeles last Saturday.