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Center has 'lower-body injury'

9/1/2004 - Mike Modano

MONTREAL -- Mike Modano has joined the growing list of
injured U.S. hockey players

Modano went down with a "lower-body injury" Tuesday night during the United States' 2-1 loss to Canada in the opening game of the World Cup of Hockey for both teams.

Before the tournament even started, the United States lost
defensemen Derian Hatcher, Mathieu Schneider, Jordan Leopold and
Brian Rafalski, along with center Jeremy Roenick.

"You don't replace a Mike Modano," New Jersey Devils center
Scott Gomez said. "There's guys waiting in the wings, but [Modano]
could be the best U.S. player ever. There will be guys ready to
step up, and hopefully Mike will be all right.

"If you look around the locker room, we've dealt with injuries
already. Once you're in the tournament, it doesn't matter."

American captain Chris Chelios, who has been to three Stanley
Cup finals, knows the ability to avoid injuries is often the
difference between success and failure.

"It seems like teams that do well in the playoffs or in
tournaments remain healthy," the Detroit Red Wings defenseman
said. "Hopefully, Mike will be able to be ready for us, maybe not
next game but the following game. We don't know how bad his injury
is."

Without Modano, U.S. coach Ron Wilson had to juggle
his forward lines for much of the final 40 minutes of play.

"Ronnie was just throwing lines together," Minnesota Wild
forward Brian Rolston said. "Not too many line combinations could
stay together because of that."

Despite losing Modano, the Americans played their best hockey in
the second period after starting flat in the first when they were
outshot 19-6.

United States center Doug Weight said his club was expecting an
emotional start from the Canadians, who were playing in front of a
home crowd.

"We knew it was going to be like that, and we just wanted to
weather the storm," he said. "But we didn't think it was going to
be 17 minutes of it."