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Modin moments

Saturday, 05.03.2011 / 6:54 AM
By Mike Board - CF.com Digital Content Director / Along the Boards
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Along the Boards
Modin moments

Fredrik Modin is asked where his career is at.

"It's right here in Calgary, right now," said the 36-year-old forward.

Acquired at the trade deadline from Atlanta for a seventh round pick, Modin has been hampered by injuries and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.  Hence the question.

Modin, however, was quick to point out that he is happy to be in Calgary fighting for a playoff spot. "My focus right now is to finish this season here in Calgary and make the best of it. Whatever happens after that is not something I am worried about right now."

Modin played in his first game as a Flames on Friday, against one of his former teams, the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played on the left side with Matt Stajan as his center and Tom Kostopoulos on the right wing. Fourth line duty. No matter. Coaches felt confident enough in the veteran winger to put him out to start the game. In fact, the only concern head coach Brent Sutter had was game fitness because Modin had been limited to 36 games this season because of a back problem.

The fact that Modin dressed was not a surprise. The Flames have lost Brendan Morrison, at lest temporarily, to a knee injury. What was a surprise on Friday was that Mikael Backlund, one of three natural centers available, did not dress for the game. He had skated on a line with Modin and Kostopoulos at the morning skate. However, by gametime, he was unable to play because of the flu.

That forced coaches to dress one less forward and an extra defenceman (the old seven-eleven combination). That meant that another newcomer, Brett Carson, also drew into the line-up. Carson, the former Calgary Hitmen defenceman, was claimed on waivers from Carolina on trade deadline day and saw his first action in a Flames uniform.

Needless to say, the uneven balance created plenty of line combinations. And, perhaps, some confusion on the defensive zone coverage. On Craig Rivet's opening goal, it appeared as though Modin failed to pick up his man (ie Rivet) on the back check.

In what was a very interesting game -- the Blue Jackets played a very good road game but came out on the losing end, all but eliminating them from the playoffs -- the Flames managed to get yet another important two points. It moves them to fifth in the West. Had they lost, they could have dropped to 10th.

For Modin, it was like getting his feet wet as he played a little more than six minutes. Not a spectacular debut by any means. But not horrible, either. Still, there's probably more to see from Modin.

"It really is exciting and fun to be part of this," he said. "It's a lot of fun. I am excited to come in here and see where this team is and the fighting and the battling that will go on for the playoffs the rest of the year."

If that's what Modin is looking for, he got it Friday. Columbus did not go quietly into the night. They, like every team hoping to make the post season, battled to the bitter end. They poured it all out onto the ice.

And, hey, when was the last time you saw two penalty shots in one game against the same team? (One was clearly a poor call but both were stopped by Miikka Kiprusoff).

There are now 15 games remaining in the season for Modin and the Flames. None are likely to be easy. They are likely to be hard-fought affairs. Based on his first game, Modin looks as though he'll provide some experience and poise in those games. That's a valuable asset in games like the one on Friday.

"It's thinking the game the right way, whether it is a young player or an experienced player," said head coach Brent Sutter. "Experience can be helpful if you are an intelligent player."

The Flames are hoping Modin is both.





Along the Boards is published regularly on Saturday at calgaryflames.com. Reach Mike Board at editor@calgaryflames.com or leave your thoughts here by clicking on the comment button.