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September 26, 2007

Mike Modano

JULIE YOUNG: Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Julie Young with the NHL's Public Relations Department. And I would like to welcome you to today's media conference call with Dallas Stars forward Mike Modano.
Thank you, Mike, for taking the time to join us today, and to answer your questions, and to the Stars Mark Janko for helping to arrange the call.
Mike passed Joe Mullins 502 goal mark as the all-time leader among U.S. born NHL goal scorers in March. He enters the 2007-08 season needing just six points to tie Phil Housley with 132 points for the all-time scoring lead among American-born players.
A native of Livonia, Michigan, Mike has played his entire 17-year NHL career with the Stars Organization, and is the all-time franchise leader in goals with 507 assists, assists with 719 points, points at 1226 in games played at 1238. Thanks again to Mike for joining us, and we'll now open it up for questions.

Q. You know, we talked a couple weeks ago about approaching the record here, but I was just wondering having been in camp and skating into the preseason here if you were a little bit more antsy or anxious about it?
MIKE MODANO: Probably more so when we get started. I think that first game will some excitement to get it started, get chasing it and going after it. So I guess going into it I think it will be on my mind, certainly. Just wanting to just, in general, get off to a good start. But again, just trying to get that number and get it over with.

Q. Follow-up unrelated: Just wanted to know what you think of the Dallas Stars this year, and how you would assess your chances?
MIKE MODANO: Well, I think the West and our division is one of the toughest, I guess, in the league. You know, everybody's made some real significant moves out west and added some great players. You know, so it's going to be tougher.
We didn't do much ourselves, but we're relying a lot on our young guys to come in and start contributing and start being accountable for our team. The patience for those guys has probably reached its ends, so we're hoping they step in and be a big part of the team.

Q. Hello. I wonder how does Loui Eriksson (inaudible) look?
MIKE MODANO: They're looking good. They're both looking good. They're a bit nervous. They felt they've had some good camp, but it's been very competitive for those last three or four spots on our team, And we're just trying to fill those holes.
But they did really play well for us at the end of last year, which is helping their case a lot this spring this fall in camp. But Coach has a tough decision, because they've all played well and they've also earned a right to be there.

Q. Do you think they'll get more ice time this year?
MIKE MODANO: Just depends, I think they will. I think as you get older, you start getting a little bit more responsibility. I think the expectations of scoring goals around here is a little bit higher than in the past. But we've always had that foundation of a good defense.
But if they do those things well, there is no reason why they shouldn't play more.

Q. What is your prediction for this season?
MIKE MODANO: Well, like I said, it's going to be tough. I think our division is one of the hardest ones in the league. It always comes down to the last couple of weeks of the season to find out where we're going to be seeded and who wins the division and what not. So it is very competitive. It's between San Jose and Anaheim and ourselves and L.A. You know, it's always been tough. It's always been something that lasts right to the end of the season.

Q. I've been asking a lot of guys the last couple weeks with Erik Johnson expecting to come in this year and play his first NHL season, what's it like being a number one guy, you know, first round draft pick coming in as a young guy like that? When you were younger, did you feel a lot of pressure to have to maybe live up to the expectations or live up to it all?
MIKE MODANO: Well, I think it's different. I think the expectations of the young kids, you know, 15 to 20 years ago is different from now. I think there's so much expectations to win. I think teams are reluctant to throw those young kids in the lineup.
There is such a demand to win, and everybody's out to keep their jobs and be successful and win. I think there is a little hesitation to bring those young guys in. But in the past, I mean, Coach has just said we're going to throw these kids in, and he's just going to adapt and overcome and adjust to the league. So you know, it's a bit different than now.
But he does have the skill. The couple guys that are probably going to play have the ability to stick around and play. And teams just have to understand that that needs to be done in order for those guys to adjust and to, you know, get ready for the grind of an NHL season.

Q. Did you pass on any advice to Patrick Kane when you saw him a couple weeks ago?
MIKE MODANO: Well, you know, it's tough. You're going against guys who are faster, guys who are stronger and quicker and smarter. I think you just really can't go into your first season or first couple months thinking that things are going to be like they are in Juniors. You're going to get discouraged and frustrated because they don't happen that way.
You have to be patient, and you have to just, as you get a little more experienced, you can figure out where you can and can't go and what you can do. So some things change, some things you're going to have to add to your game.
The game has become so tight checking now that that's a big part of the game. But you know, he'll learn. He's had a great Junior career. And, you know, to go number one means a lot. It's a great honor and a lot of pressure and expectations to live up to, but that's the fun part.
JULIE YOUNG: Thank you for your time, Mike.

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