Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Steve Yzerman to return to Detroit for first time since leaving Red Wings to become Tampa Bay Lightning GM

Steve Yzerman was captain for three Stanley Cup champs with the Red Wings, breaking Detroit’s 42-year drought.

Getty Images (2000)

Steve Yzerman was captain for three Stanley Cup champs with the Red Wings, breaking Detroit’s 42-year drought.

DETROIT — During a timeout in the first period of tonight's game between the Lightning and Red Wings, the public address announcer at Joe Louis Arena will introduce Steve Yzerman.

A shot of Yzerman in his seat will be shown on the scoreboard, which then will run a video tribute; at least that is the plan, the Red Wings said.

It is a display Yzerman probably could do without.

Not that he won't appreciate it. "But the game is about Tampa Bay playing Detroit. It's not about me," Yzerman said. "It shouldn't be about me."

But in a way, it is.

Yzerman brings the Lightning to Detroit for the first time since last year leaving the Red Wings — the team for which he had a 23-year Hall of Fame career and worked four years as a vice president — to become Tampa Bay's general manager.

So, yeah, Detroit GM Ken Holland said, "It will be a big deal."

"He's beloved in Detroit and Michigan," Holland said. "He was the guy who put hockey back on the map here in the '80s, when it had fallen off the map here for 15 years. He led us to our first championship in 42 years (1997). His (No. 19) jersey is in the rafters. He's one of the greatest Red Wings players ever."

• • •

Holland said he was surprised in May 2010 when Yzerman left the Wings because his connection to Detroit is that strong.

Yzerman, wife Lisa and daughters Isabella, 17; Maria, 13, and Sophia, 12, still have a home in the area, and Yzerman spends a lot of time commuting.

He also said he always will be a Red Wing.

"It never changes," he said.

But Yzerman wanted to be a general manager. And with Holland, at whose right hand he learned the business, entrenched in Detroit, Yzerman signed a five-year deal with the Lightning.

Yzerman, 46, brought instant credibility to a downtrodden franchise that hadn't been to the playoffs in four years. And his savvy moves — trading for goalie Dwayne Roloson and defenseman Eric Brewer — helped take Tampa Bay to within one game of last season's Stanley Cup final.

"He's doing great," Holland said. "He's made some real key decisions. I talk to him quite a bit, and I know he wants a team that's built for the long term."

"Obviously," Yzerman said, "I want to build a Stanley Cup champion. … It's a real challenge, and I've really enjoyed it. We've got a lot of work to do here. But my family has been very happy, and when we win, I'm happy."

As for the Tampa Bay area, "I'll tell you," he said, chuckling, "it grows on you."

• • •

Yzerman has not publicly committed to attending tonight's game. He is in town and was at the Lightning's Tuesday practice.

But, you know, he's a busy guy.

"There's a lot of other things to do, a lot of other hockey games to see," Yzerman said. "If there are other places I should be and I can make the best use of my time, then I'll go. If not, then I'll go to the game in Detroit."

Let's assume Yzerman will attend. The Red Wings likely would not state that a tribute is planned if Yzerman was not going to show.

Tampa Bay players figure their tribute will be their play.

"He obviously really wants to win that game," said captain Vinny Lecavalier, who idolized Yzerman growing up. "I'm sure it's going to be very special for him, and yeah, we really want to play a good game for ourselves and for him, too."

"We want to make him proud by competing and playing hard," left wing Ryan Malone said. "It would be great to give him a win, but you want to make sure you go out with a great effort he deserves for what he's done in Tampa and Detroit."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at


Lightning at Red Wings

When/where: 7:30; Joe Louis Arena, Detroit

TV/radio: Versus; 970-AM

Key stats: The Lightning is 1-12-0 with a tie in Detroit, where it has not won since January 1994 (0-9-0 with a tie). … Tampa Bay W Marty St. Louis has zero goals and three assists in 15 games against the Red Wings. … Detroit's 19 home points (9-2-1) are tied for the league's best. … The Red Wings have outscored opponents 43-23 at home. … Detroit RW Johan Franzen and Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier entered Tuesday tied with a league-best four winning goals. … Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom's 13 points on six goals, seven assists led all defensemen in home-ice scoring.

Steve Yzerman to return to Detroit for first time since leaving Red Wings to become Tampa Bay Lightning GM 11/29/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brad Miller (13) gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after his solo home run in the fourth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Looks like LF Corey Dickerson is coming out of his funk at the plate — .186 average in past 16 games entering Friday. He had two hits Wednesday in Oakland and three hits Friday against the Rangers. Okay, one was an infield hit that bounced high in front of the plate, but the other was a long home run to …

  5. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome


    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.