Monday was supposed to be a day of rest for Mike Modano, but the Dallas Stars' veteran forward reportedly felt the need to show up at the team's practice facility to face his teammates and, if necessary or asked, explain himself after some pointed comments he made to the media in the wake of a 5-1 loss to Boston on Saturday.
In a game that was marked by both Dallas forwards Steve Ott and Sean Avery running around and doing their agitating best to upset the Bruins, Modano was quoted after the game as follows: “Tonight, it was idiotic and stupid. It was one of the most embarrassing things I've seen. If that's what we're going for, then they need to find me an off-ice job.”
But Modano's comments, which were portrayed in some quarters as a direct criticism of the style of play of Ott and Avery, were apparently more directed towards a verbal exchange between Avery on the bench and some fans in Boston as well as a lot of complaining and carping by Stars' players to the on-ice officials about penalties.
Modano, sources said, intended to go to practice today to make sure his teammates knew that and to understand his reaction was specific to the verbal jousting between Avery and the fans and complaints to the referee.
In any case, there are lots of fires to be put out in Dallas.
Marty Turco's goaltending has gone south. Coach Dave Tippett's characteristic trademark team defence has been AWOL and those are not the best of circumstances to be dealing with the difficult early-season chemistry challenges involving Avery.
The Stars are hopeful of turning things around since veteran defenceman Sergei Zubov could be back in the lineup as early as Friday. Jere Lehtinen is also nearing a return to action from the injured list.
Co-general manager Brett Hull, who was largely responsible for the Stars signing Avery as an unrestricted free agent, has been working with him to smooth some of the rough edges within the Stars' room. Hull is also extremely close to Modano so it's perceived as a situation where Hull can help to soothe any hard feelings and perhaps get everyone on the same page.
Chances are the fuss will die down if the Stars starting winning, but a losing environment is only bound to breed more widespread discontentment.