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Modano, Salei say old hit no problem // Detroit News
Mike Modano isn't giving a second thought. Ruslan Salei isn't either.
But here's a refresher.
Salei, then with the Ducks, pushed Modano into the end boards in 1999, causing Modano (then with the Stars) a concussion and sprained neck.
Now, the two are teammates on the Red Wings.
"You guys (the media) make a big deal out of it," said Salei, who skated with his new teammates for the first time Tuesday. "I don't think there is. It'd kind of ironic (they're teammates). It's been a long time. We haven't actually talked about it yet.
"It's more of a personal thing between me and him and not the media. I don't think it's going to be any distraction in any way for us. I don't think it's going to be a big deal."
Said Modano: "He's always been a hard guy to play against, always an in-your-face guy. He plays hard and physical. Things happen in hockey and you get caught in an awkward situation, off balance."
Salei, 35, is slated to be on the third defensive pairing with Jonathan Ericsson. He was limited to 14 games last season with the Avalanche (season-ending back surgery).
Playing with the Wings also reunites Salei with Mike Babcock, who coached Salei in 2003 with the Ducks.
That season, Anaheim reached the Stanley Cup Finals before losing to New Jersey.
"We had great success together in Anaheim," Salei said. "I really respect
him as a coach. We had our good and bad times when we worked together,
but that's how you build a relationship. We have an understanding of what
he wants and what I can do for him."