WASHINGTON — It has been more than two years since Lightning GM Steve Yzerman all but ruled himself out of the Dec. 31 Alumni Showdown between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs.
But some friendly persuasion the past couple of weeks from Red Wings GM Kenny Holland apparently got Yzerman to reconsider.
"We just spent some time together with Olympic matters," Yzerman told NHL.com. "He asked if I'd consider playing and I thought about it."
And since the outdoor game at Comerica Park fit his schedule, "I decided it's right to be part of it."
The game is part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival that features a Jan. 1 game between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at the University of Michigan football stadium.
Lightning assistant GM Pat Verbeek also will play for the Red Wings. Assistant coach Steve Thomas and former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk will play for the Maple Leafs.
But the focus Tuesday was on Yzerman, 48, who played for Detroit from 1983-2006 and is considered one of the game's greatest players.
Yzerman had radical realignment surgery on his right knee in August 2002 and admits he has skated only two or three times since retiring. He has said he doesn't even own skates.
"Without a doubt, it makes all the difference," Thomas said of Yzerman's participation. "He's everything in Detroit. There's Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman. Those two guys are the mainstays in the organization. To have him in the game makes it that much more special."
Tough hit: Capitals D Karl Alzner sustained no ill effects from being boarded by Tampa Bay's Richard Panik. And Panik reiterated he was not trying to hurt Alzner, who already was falling when Panik hit him on the back of the left shoulder.
"I hope the guy is okay," Panik said.
Said Lightning coach Jon Cooper: "I want to sit there and pull for him. Is (Alzner) going down? I don't know. (Panik) gives him a little bit of a nudge. That's tough, but you can't put yourself in those spots."
"On the other side of that," Cooper said of Panik's five-minute major penalty that resulted in two Capitals goals, "let's try and kill it off for him. … We didn't do it."
SORRY: Adam Erne told the French language newspaper La Presse that he sent an apologetic text to fellow Lightning prospect Jonathan Drouin for Friday's from-behind hit that forced Drouin head-first into the side glass and caused a concussion.
It is unclear if Drouin can play for Canada at the world junior championship that begins Dec. 26 in Sweden, or attend the selection camp that begins Thursday.
ODDS AND ENDS: Capitals W Alex Ovechkin's two power-play goals gave him a franchise-best 138. … RW Marty St. Louis' goal 2:26 into the first period ended Tampa Bay's road scoreless streak at 139:39. … Washington D Mike Green had 18 minutes of penalties in the first period, three for high sticking, tripping and a 10-minute misconduct. … LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie didn't skate Tuesday morning because of illness, the team said. … RW Dana Tyrell was scratched.