Patrick Kane’s point streak has garnered a lot of attention.
The 26-game streak, which is a franchise best and gets Kane that much closer to joining the top 10 all-time streaks, has people talking – and watching. And one of those who’s been watching the whole time is Mike Modano.
Modano, who is the all-time the goal and points leader among U.S.-born players, says he’s long enjoyed watching Kane and the Blackhawks. That’s doubly true since Kane’s been on this point streak.
“With all that’s gone on, just to be able to focus and play hockey and the way he has at the level, that says a lot about him,” said Modano during a recent phone interview. “But I’ve always been a big fan, no matter what, watching him and how he plays. [The Blackhawks] are one team I kind of tune into when they’re on TV; I always seem to try to catch him on the tube.”
Modano remembers playing Kane when the Blackhawks right wing first came into the league. Stopping him even then was a challenge.
“It’s one of those things where you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. You can’t run at him hard and fast because he can make moves around you. But if you do back off and give him time he’ll kill you that way,” Modano said. “It was difficult to contain him and try to maneuver him and get him out of the dangerous part of the ice.”
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Kane was flattered to hear Modano’s a fan.
“He's one of those guys that, you talk about entertainment watching a hockey game, he's right up there with the most entertaining players I've ever watched. Speed, great hands, obviously. He was an electrifying player for a lot of years and a guy that I got to know a little bit as I started my career. So, he's definitely one of my favorite American-born players,” Kane said. “But to hear him say something like that is obviously exciting for me, because I know what kind of player he was too.”
Modano finished a 20-year career with 561 goals and 1,374 points, both records for U.S.-born players. Where do Kane and Modano stack up for their careers to this point? Kane, who played his 607th career game on Sunday, has 224 goals and 379 assists for 603 points. Modano through his first 607 career games had 269 goals and 360 assists for 629 points.
Could Kane reach those marks? Modano said, “I’m sure he’ll be making a run at it.” Obviously a lot of factors will play into it: health and opportunity to play are two big factors. Modano lost a full season and part of another one (1994-95) due to lockout. Kane had his own 48-game, lockout-shortened season in 2013. So is having a strong core of players around you. Modano had that for a good deal of his Dallas Stars days and Kane certainly has that now.
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“Just health and having good players around you for a long time,” Modano said. “He’s just the lead guy in that category. He’s the one guy who, consistency and longevity is your key now.”
Kane’s not thinking of reaching Modano’s numbers just yet – “that’s a little too far away to think of that for me,” he said. What he’s doing right now is tremendous. So is what he could still do.
“There's been a lot of great Americans that have had great careers, so when you see your name with guys like Eddie Olczyk and Phil Kessel or different things like that, it obviously humbles you and makes you excited about the future, too,” Kane said. “It's nice that (Modano's) been excited about the streak and everything and us Americans, we've always got each other's back.”