Modano leaves game as one of U.S.'s best

One of the greatest American hockey players is hanging up his skates for good.

Mike Modano announced Wednesday on Facebook he is retiring after 21 seasons, a career that includes a Stanley Cup win and 561 goals and 1,374 points, both records for Americans.

"I think I knew in my heart I was done after last season," Modano, 41, told ESPN. "I had a harder time coming to grips with it than I thought I would. Part of me wanted to play it out and see if anybody had called in July. When that didn't happen, I figured that's pretty much it."

Modano ended his career with the Red Wings last season as a banged-up player who had lost a step and his shot. A skate sliced a tendon in his right wrist and limited him to 40 games and career lows of four goals and 15 points.

In Modano's prime, he was among the best players on the planet. Shifty, speedy and with a lethal wrist shot, he also played in three Olympics, helping the Americans win silver in 2002.

The Minnesota North Stars selected the native of Westland, Mich., first overall in the 1988 draft. Following the franchise's move to Dallas, he helped the Stars win the Stanley Cup in 1999.

He left the Stars for Detroit after the 2009-10 season when Dallas didn't offer him a free-agent contract.

Game highlights: High-priced free-agent goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov, making his first appearance as a Flyer, allowed goals to Juraj Mikus, Matt Frattin and Joe Colborne as the visiting Maple Leafs won 4-2. … Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist in his first game action in more than seven months after tearing an ACL and the host Penguins beat the Red Wings 3-2.

Modano leaves game as one of U.S.'s best 09/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2011 11:40pm]

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