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Modin owns hockey hat trick

By JOHN ROMANO
Published February 27, 2006


TURIN, Italy - The location had changed. The uniform was now an odd color of blue, and none of his teammates from Tampa Bay was around.

But one thing seemed strikingly familiar.

The sight of Fredrik Modin on top of the world.

Twenty months after accomplishing his professional ambition by winning the Stanley Cup with the Lightning, Modin fulfilled a more personal dream by winning the Olympic gold medal with Sweden on Sunday.

Modin also has won a world championship gold, making him one of 17 players with titles in all three of hockey's greatest tournaments. He joins NHL greats such as Brendan Shanahan, Peter Forsberg, Jaromir Jagr and Mats Naslund.

"Any time you get tossed around with names like that," Modin said, "it gives you goose bumps."

Upon having the gold medal placed around his neck, Modin looked at it briefly then raised it to his lips. Later, he took a victory lap around the arena, tossing flowers into the bleachers and posing for a team picture.

The scene was not that different from the St. Pete Times Forum in June 2004 when the Lightning beat Calgary, but Modin said the two championships have little in common.

"Here, you come in for two weeks and try to put a team together," Modin said. "It's a one-game situation, and you need to get some bounces to have it go your way.

"The Stanley Cup, you're with the guys every day through a whole season, battling to get yourself in position. It's not fair to compare them, but if I have to, winning the Stanley Cup is huge. It takes a lot more."

Modin, who had two goals and an assist in Sweden's eight games, helped knock out Lightning teammates Vinny Prospal and Pavel Kubina of the Czech Republic in the semifinals. Prospal and Kubina won bronze medals.

Modin may have a souvenir when he returns to the Lightning locker room, but he won't have much time to celebrate.

Tampa Bay returns to action Tuesday night against the Panthers, and minutes after beating Finland 3-2 Sunday, Modin was worrying about catching a flight home today.

Won't Lightning coach John Tortorella give him a break after winning gold?

"Yeah," the left wing said, laughing, "I don't think that's happening."

[Last modified February 27, 2006, 02:15:26]


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