Modano Blog: Playing with Confidence
Friday, 05.02.2008 / 2:38 PM / Mike Modano Blog
By Michael Modano - Center, Dallas Stars
Friday’s Game Five at San Jose is another great opportunity for us. We would have loved to have closed out the series in Game Four but it honestly is very difficult to win four-straight against a team in the playoffs – especially between two teams that are this close in skill and talent. If you would have told us before the series started that we would be up, 3-1, going to Game Five, we would have been very happy with that. San Jose is a very good team and the hardest one to win will be this fourth one. We feel confident and are looking forward to another opportunity to win an elimination game tonight.
A lot of people have asked me why is it we play so well in this building here in San Jose. I honestly do not know what the reason is. I can tell you that it is one of the best rinks to play in with the crowd and the atmosphere. It is one of the loudest arenas in the league and they have some very good fans. I’ve had some good individual numbers in this rink as well. It’s not hard to get excited about playing here. The lighting is very good in the building too, making it easier to see the puck.
I really enjoy this time of year. Something is always going on every night. The NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing, and I enjoy following all of it. I have an appreciation for great teams and great players. The Celtics’ Ray Allen is one of my favorite players to watch. Most people point to Kevin Garnett as the main player tied to their turnaround. Garnett is great, but Allen is a pro’s pro. Watch his body language – it almost looks like he doesn’t have any emotion but he is in full focus and is a deadly shooter, especially when the game is on the line.
I also marvel at the San Antonio Spurs – a team that has remained a consistent force year after year. That truly is amazing to me. Tim Duncan is the centerpiece, but Gregg Popovich has been able to build and rebuild around him with players like Ginoboli and Parker. Every year they are right there as one of the top contenders and I am impressed with what they have accomplished as a sports franchise.
These are tough times for the Mavericks. I feel for Dirk. I’ve been through several different rebuildings and retooling of teams. It’s never easy when a coach gets fired or the organization decides it is time to make major changes to the roster. I remember all of the growing pains we went through in the 90’s with the Stars as we were building towards a Stanley Cup. The road in building this current team has certainly had its ups and downs and I’m really enjoying playing with my current teammates. Brenden, Marty and Ribs have all embraced their roles and we are playing with a lot of confidence right now. And Brad Richards has fit in very well with our group. It’s a fun time for guys like me, Lehts and Zubie. We remember what it is like to have a long playoff run and are embracing this moment. We want it to keep going.