Posts tagged “Steve Yzerman”

Signs Pointing to Martin Leaving

When you add up the fact that Ryan Martin would likely become the assistant GM in Tampa Bay with the fact that he’s no longer attending brain trust meetings, it’s hard not to conclude he’s gone. Even though it’s possible he is being kept out of the meetings only pending his decision, it doesn’t seem likely he’d turn down an assistant GM job. The Wings can offer him money, but not the control such a job would bring.

So, yeah. It seems likely. And it sucks. Having a guy as smart and as knowledgeable of the CBA as Martin on the staff has been huge for the Wings. Ken Holland is the best GM in the league, but Martin’s value to the team in the cap era is something we’re probably not going to fully appreciate until he’s gone. The fact that he’s likely headed out the door has me unsettled on the team’s future CBA/cap-related prospects. It is not a good thing.

And I admit I’m a little upset with Yzerman, in spite of myself. I know he needs good, smart people in his office, but ugh. Martin is the Wings’ good, smart guy. But such is business, I guess.

Goodbye and Good Luck, Stevie Y

Well, after the initial shock wore off, I’ve come to terms with this. And I’ll say to The Captain up front, with more feeling this time: good luck in Tampa. You’re going to do great things there (with one qualifier I’ll get to in a minute). You’ve studied at the best hockey management school in the business and I know you have it in you to turn a bad situation into a great one for the Lightning. I’ve never really been one to spare fanship for a team other than the Wings, but I’ll be keeping on eye on Tampa Bay from now on for sure.

And I hope to see a stable ownership situation. The foundation on which the Wings’ success is built is the stability of the ownership situation. Of course, plenty of teams have stable ownership and don’t get anywhere (see Chicago prior to the passing of Bill Wirtz), so it’s not everything. But the best hockey minds in the business are going to have a hard time doing their jobs if the name on the boss’s door keeps changing.

I know nothing about Jeff Vinik beyond what little I’ve picked up from reading about the process behind Yzerman’s job change, but if he can offer anything like the longevity or stability the Illitches have provided the Wings over the years, Steve’s job of building a contender out of a team that often helps put the least in Southleast becomes that much easier.

It’s just as important that Vinik gives Yzerman the time and leash to do what he needs to do. If they’re really going to get the Lightning off the ground, the owner fiddling with operations isn’t going to do the trick. So it’s good that the question of direction has been settled at the onset. Of course, you never hear of a hire like this being told he won’t have the reins, but you can bet Yzerman wouldn’t have left if he wasn’t sure the arrangement would stick.

And The Captain’s going to have a fair starting point. Once I got past the initial visceral reaction of “Tampa Bay?! Haha teh suck,” I remembered guys like Steve Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Vincent Lecavalier (assuming he’s not dealt somehow), and Martin St. Louis. He doesn’t have a lot of players signed going in, but with over $21 million in cap space, he’ll have some room to bring guys over, even in a weak market. They don’t have the world’s greatest development system, it seems, but that can come.

The first big thing, obviously, is to find the right coach. There are a bunch of names out there, and it’s impossible to really know what he’s thinking. But I’m just going to throw Barry Smith’s name out there. They have a history, theoretically Smith would use an Yzerman-approved system (presumably, he wants something like the Wings have used and what he shot for with Team Canada), and, most importantly, he’s available. And maybe interested in working in a warmer environment than Russia. Who knows?

Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting to watch. I just hope he’s given the time needed to form the team he needs. The Wings’ success didn’t come immediately and neither will the Lightning’s. Here’s hoping expectations in Tampa Bay are set accordingly. If given the time and leash, and if backed by stable ownership, I think we can expect great things of Steve Yzerman in this new role. He won’t be the GM to Wayne Gretzky’s coach.

Thanks for everything, Steve. It’s hard to imagine you as no longer a member of the Wings in a formal capacity, but we’ll deal. Good luck. We’ll be watching.

Steve Yzerman, The New Tampa Bay GM

Wow. I had really hoped this wouldn’t happen, but there it is: Stevie’s leaving Detroit. I didn’t want to believe it possible, but it is.

I’m amazed. With his family still tied up in Detroit and Tampa Bay being such a mess, I never thought he’d leave now. Surely other opportunities in the next year or two would have opened up with other teams. Why Tampa, Steve? Why now? He had more power to choose his time and place than practically anybody, and the decision is Tampa Bay? I’m stunned.

That said, Stevie, I wish you luck and success and know you’ll prove your managerial mettle to the hockey world big time. Thank you for everything—you really are the best.

This news has thrown off my orbit for the day. More tonight.

TFP: Yzerman Turns Down Tampa Bay

Hold on the excitement until another outlet picks it up, but, if true: awesome. Though not entirely unexpected. I’ve come to accept that Stevie will leave at some point, especially if Ken Holland continues his “from my cold, dead fingers” approach in spite of Illitch’s request, but Tampa Bay was far from the ideal situation he’d want to start his GM career.

But we’ll see. When another outlet can verify TFP’s story, I’ll be more relieved. Note that’s nothing against TFP. I just like seeing a breaking story picked up by others who are also doing due diligence on it.

Sorry about the quiet around her since The Loss. On top of having little time to post, I’d also hit a bit of a blogger burnout patch at the end there and needed a few days. Still not sure if I’ll be able to muster a season post-mortem (everybody’s already said everything anyway), but we’ll see.

(link via @Mariia19)

Dreger’s Got Big Red Wing News

Update (29. Apr, 8:25AM): George’s post here has more clarification on the specifics of 1) and 2). That is, slightly different takes than Dreger’s. - Matt

Two ways: 1) the Wings are letting the Lightning talk to Yzerman about their open GM position, and 2) Holland’s getting a contract extension.

That’s the first I’ve heard of 2) so it’s news to me. And big news, too. If you take Holland’s comments about leaving when Lidstrom leaves at face value, it might mean something for the negotiations with Nick (though probably not: Kenny’s mostly kidding, it seems).

But 1)’s the hot news that’ll the attention out of town. I guess it’s a big change in the status quo, for sure, but I’m still not convinced Yzerman’s going to bolt. I wonder how much of the Wings’ granting permission to the Lightning comes out of confidence he’s not going to leave.

However realistic outsiders may feel the chances of his being seduced are, I know for myself I’ll never really believe Yzerman’s leaving until I see him in a press conference with another team.

Why Do I Love Steve Yzerman?

I was not around to be a fan during the era of the “Dead Things.” I was born after Yzerman was already on the team. I was 15 days shy of 1 year old when he was named captain. I was in Africa when he brought the Cup back in 1997, and had just returned when he handed it to Konstantinov.

I’m embarrassed to say that I grew to love hockey after watching The Mighty Ducks. I played by myself in my concrete front yard in Nairobi, Kenya on roller skates with a broom and a tennis ball. I have no stories of Yzerman’s early years, or him bringing pride back to the Wings.

I started following the Wings during the 2001-02 season. I was a hockey fan looking for a team, and my best friend was a born and bred Wings fan. So, naturally, I picked them up. I didn’t get to enjoy the full glory of that team because I was in high school and did not have cable. I watched very few playoff games. I did not see the Statue of Liberty, or the wonderful Game 7 against Colorado. I did watch the Stanley Cup Finals. I watched Stevie lift that Cup, with his daughter next to him, and I was hooked. It wasn’t just the team that drew me, it was Stevie. It was watching him hand the Cup to Bowman, then the parade of veterans.

Like I said, I didn’t see a lot of the playoffs. But I got the DVD afterwards. And I heard the stories. Vancouver. Stevie’s knee. And from then on, he became my Captain. He’s been put on an untouchable pedestal in my mind. When people ask me who my favorite Wing is or was, I never say Yzerman. He’s above that. It’s just a given, in my mind, that he is the ultimate in the minds of every true Red Wings fan. Our favorite players could be proceeded by, “aside from Steve Yzerman.”

So why do I love Steve Yzerman? He is the best leader professional sports has ever seen. He is always a professional, regardless of the situation. He does not enjoy the spotlight, but tries to deflect it to his teammates and the organization. He is genuinely grateful to the Ilitch family and Jimmy D for giving him a chance. He can motivate an entire team without even saying a word. When the team was struggling, he did not call anyone out but pointed to himself. He never played the media game. He didn’t cry to the reporters when there were trade rumors, he just went out and showed Bowman why he had to keep him. He has the strongest, most intense stare I’ve ever seen.He exudes confidence to this day, but is still so down to earth.  And, oh yeah, he’s one of the greatest all-around players to ever play the game.

And I love him for all the stuff he did before I even knew the Red Wings played hockey. I wasn’t here for his high-flying years, or for the return to glory, but I love him for it. Thanks to Steve Yzerman, and many others, I have never had to suffer the way I do as a Lions fan. Whenever the team is struggling, I still wish The Captain was there to set them straight with one of his short, concise, but powerful speeches.

That’s all I can say. There’re more reasons why I love him, but I cannot put them into words. He has a quality. If you are a Wings fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you cannot put it into words either.

He’s Steve Yzerman, and he’s my captain. He’s The Captain.

What To Say?

I’m sitting here watching the HHOF induction ceremony and realized I didn’t post about Steve Yzerman’s entering the Hall. To be honest, I don’t know what to say that would seem adequate. Bill comes close.

As for me, all I can say is there will never be another player like you, Stevie. I can’t put what you meant to me personally, the state of Michigan and the hockey world into words. Congratulations, Captain.