Red Wings sign Willa Ford, Some Old Guy To Tag Along

Armband tattoos are cheesy. UNLESS THEY’RE MUSICAL IN NATURE!

Well, the summer soap opera looks to have come to an end, as Mike Modano has finally decided to take the Wings up on their one-year contract offer to center the third line between Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary. Or so Drunk Freep says.

Finally, an Italian worth rooting for on the Red Wings.

The real story here, however, is the opportunity for fans to spend the next ten months reaaaaaaally hoping for an Emma Andersson/Willa Ford Jell-O wrestling match to settle inter-locker room disagreements (office politics, you know how it goes…)

Anyone know the Swedish for “Imma end you, Southern biatch.” ?

You all know my thoughts: I’ve been Prodano from the beginning of the “maybe” phase. I’m super-psyched that we’ve got a legit scoring threat of a third line. Sure, it was getting old playing the waiting game — I hated that he backed off on his “Red Wings or retirement” stance when the Wild, Sharks, and Ducks came a-knocking. But he’s a Red Wing now, so get ready, everyone. Time for the nitty gritty.

If the rumors are semi-accurate, the deal is for $1.25M (which would make him the tenth highest paid forward for optimists, third lowest [for now] for the pessimists). By my math, the Wings will have about $2,524,622 to sign Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, another defenseman, and leave a gap in case of injuries. But, like we’ve said a million times but no one seems to grasp, teams may go over the salary cap until the final day of training camp, so there’s no need to be under that magic number just yet. Derek Meech will most likely be removed if he fails to make the top six, giving the Wings even more wiggle room. They’re sitting pretty right now, twenty-one one-way players signed (i.e., excluding Mattias Ritola and Doug Janik).

Rest assured, Modano signing doesn’t mean that Helm and Abdelkader won’t be signed. It’s very clear that they’re in the Wings’ long-term plans, and Holland has admitted as much to anyone that’d ask. Push comes to shove (and it won’t, because it never does), they’ll wave goodbye to Drew Miller before they’d part with either of the homegrown boys. Theoretically, our forward corps:

Zetterberg :: Datsyuk :: Holmstrom
Franzen :: Filppula :: Bertuzzi
Hudler :: Modano :: Cleary
Abdelkader :: Helm :: Draper/Miller/Eaves
Suck it, Chicago Turcos. 
Yes, he’s 40. No, he’s not the player he was when he was 25. Yes, he pulled a tiny bit of a prima donna move this summer. No, it’s not unreasonable to allow him a few weeks to decide on his future after the service he’s provided. Yes, he’s still got some juice in the tank. No, he shouldn’t be vilified for Wings fans’ over-eagerness. Here are some things that might have slipped through the cracks in your blind rage that he didn’t do a backflip through fire for the Red Wings immediately…
  • He was an All-Star the last time there was an All-Star Game (09). And it wasn’t an “every team has to be represented” thing, because Stephan Robidas was there, too. 
  • Though he’s been a finalist for the Calder, Selke, and Byng Trophies, he’s never won an NHL Award. Selkes and Byngs are in the Red Wings wheelhouse. One might say that Mike Modano is a prototypical two-way center that the Wings are famous for.  
  • He and his one career fight (Brind’Amour) will immediately challenge Patrick Eaves for “No Way, He’ll Drop The Gloves?” Award.
And now onto the numbers game — what might he wear when he suits up in red and white since #9 is off-limits? I’m reading on Twitter that he’s worn 27 in two All-Star Games, but I couldn’t find any sort of confirmation of that. Every roster I’ve looked at with his name on it has #9 next to his name — including all of the All-Star Games. The only thing I found was a photo of Mike Modano in his Prince Albert jersey (from Juniors) wearing 22. So… take that, Lebda.

Scratch all that… per the Free Press, he’ll be in #90 in Detroit.

It doesn’t sound like we’ll know for sure until later in the week, as Modano himself texted “big announcement Thursday.” But all signs point to Mike Modano heading to Motown to finish his career near his hometown of Westland (or Livonia, depending on who you ask). I, for one, welcome him to the Wings — and I hope he proves all the Nodanos wrong.