COLUMBUS, Ohio — Saturday's blizzard put a dent in Fredrik Modin's dinner plans.
The Blue Jackets left wing said he was all fired up to see some of his former Lightning teammates, who were coming to town for Sunday's game. But 20 inches of snow delayed Tampa Bay four hours and kept Modin bundled up with wife Linda and kids Jesper, 6, and Ida, 3, at their home 30 miles north of the city.
"I stay in touch with those guys," Modin said. "We're still friends, and we talk as often as we can."
The Lightning perhaps misses no player as much as Modin, 33, the 6-foot-4, 217-pound bull, traded in July 2006 for goaltender Marc Denis. Modin was a key to the 2004 Stanley Cup run.
A 30-goal scorer, he was a horse on defense and a puck-possession guy, and, as we found out, Brad Richards was a different player without him on the wing.
Do you miss Tampa?
"I miss everything about Tampa. … We were seven years in Tampa. It became home to us. Our kids were born during that time. Then again, we love it here. The kids are having a blast."
That made the relocation easier?
"The big thing for us is the kids. This is a good time for them. Jesper was starting preschool and kindergarten and all that stuff. He just loves that, and that really helped us, to see the kids enjoying being here, that's what it's all about."
And they have no complaints?
"No. Then again, they keep talking about Tampa and how fun it was swimming and running around in the sun all the time."
Is there any sadness to seeing how far the Lightning has fallen?
"You know what, you need to move on. It's hard. I'd just love to sit down and reminisce about everything we did and about how much fun we had. It was a great time for us. But it doesn't work like that. You can't keep guys around for as long as teams want. You have to manage your team more actively now because of the salary cap."
Will you cherish the bond with those players as much as the championship?
"I think so, for sure. That's the way I know how to win is the way we were in those years. Year after year, we got better and better, and the feeling you had among the guys in the room. That's something you hope to experience again, and you're trying to do whatever you can to get to that point again. We had the young guys coming up and everything just snowballed. It was a really special time. You see, there I go again."
Despite the way economics affects rosters, are you shocked only five players remain from the 2004 Cup team?
"You're looking at the roster and there are a lot of guys who are not there. Again, you look back and you want Tampa to be Tampa, the Tampa you know, but it's not. That's just the way the league is right now. It's hard to keep things together."