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What Would Patrick Do?

Following up on the issue of whether the Nashville Predators should have congratulated Mike Modano for becoming the all-time American-born goal scoring leader in NHL history, I thought a specific instance of how such situations should be handled would help clarify things.

We're approaching the 10th anniversary of perhaps the most intense and spectacular regular-season games in NHL history, the March 26, 1997 brawl-fest between the Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena (more on that next week). Lost amidst the the furor of Darren McCarty vs. Claude Lemieux (among other battles) was an underreported gesture by Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy at the end of the game. McCarty scored the game winner in overtime, and as his teammates celebrated and headed off the ice, Roy fired the puck down to Red Wings goalie Mike Vernon, with whom Roy had fought just two periods earlier. This was in recognition of the fact that the game marked Vernon's 300th career victory, a hallmark achievement in a goaltender's NHL career.

Was Roy angry and disappointed at losing the game? Absolutely. But he knew that Vernon had reached a noteworthy milestone, and Roy made sure that Vernon got the game puck to mark the occasion. It was the professional thing to do, and Roy didn't let the emotions of the moment get in the way.

That's exactly how the Nashville Predators should have handled Mike Modano's achievement Saturday night, plain and simple.