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Race Around The Rink

Modano Teaches Jimmie Johnson Another Kind of Speed

Thursday, 03.20.2008 / 4:23 PM CT / Feature
By Ken Sins
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Race Around The Rink

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NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson is accustomed to wheeling his Hendrick Motorsports ride around the track at breakneck speeds.

His skating skills are more modest, however.

 On Thursday, Johnson learned that lacing on the skates and practicing with Stars center Mike Modano can be a humbling experience. Johnson hadn't skated since he was a boy in Southern California, and he was pleased to simply be able to hesitantly glide around the rink at Deja Blue Arena in Frisco following a Stars practice without falling on his backside.

 Johnson and Modano met for the first time at the media event to promote the upcoming Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway north of Fort Worth. Johnson has won the last two NASCAR Sprint Car championships and is looking to become the second driver to take three straight titles. Among Johnson's trophies is a victory in last year's Dickies 500 at TMS.

Wearing a personalized Stars No. 48 sweater (his car number), Johnson was able to stay on his feet during his 20 minutes on the ice despite some jitters because there were so many reporters watching and so many cameras recording his efforts. He and Modano also participated in a staged faceoff, with TMS president Eddie Gossage playing the role of referee right down to donning a striped shirt.

"I went around and didn't hit the wall," Johnson said. "I wish all the cameras weren't here, that's for sure. But it's a blast. I like to see what goes on with other sports."

Said Modano: "He wanted to stay upright the whole time."

Later, Johnson tried his hand at shooting at a net with a target goalie. After a few pointers from Modano, Johnson was able to flip a few pucks into the openings. Then he attempted to pass to Modano, who launched a series of booming one-timers.

Johnson has faint memories of his first skating experience.

"I put on skates once when I was a kid," Johnson said. "In Southern California it's hard to find ice, period, let alone a rink. I remember (skating) once as a kid, but I have no memory of what took place."

 Johnson only follows the NHL when game highlights pop up on SportsCenter, but after meeting Modano, Johnson said, "I will be a Stars fan."

Modano hasn't kept up with auto racing with any regularity except for driving a Legends car at TMS about a decade ago, but Modano said his interest in the sport is higher now that he's met Johnson.

"This is the first time I met a driver face-to-face, so it's something I'll keep my eye on and keep tabs on," Modano said. "I learned about him, read about him. He's a nice guy."

Johnson sees some similarities between racing and hockey. "They're both team sports," he said.

But when it comes to trading punches, the sports take different approaches.

"(In hockey) guys can roughhouse each other more than we do on the track," Johnson said. "Punching someone (in hockey) doesn't cost you 25 points (in fines)."

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 54 28 33 16 61
T. Seguin 54 28 30 11 58
J. Klingberg 54 9 35 15 44
J. Spezza 52 18 22 5 40
P. Sharp 54 16 24 -1 40
A. Goligoski 54 4 20 17 24
C. Eakin 54 10 13 1 23
M. Janmark 54 10 10 13 20
J. Demers 48 7 12 16 19
V. Nichushkin 51 6 13 7 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Niemi 20 10 5 .908 2.52
K. Lehtonen 14 5 0 .909 2.82
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