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Yzerman looks forward to reunion

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 30:  Vice President & General Manager, Alternate Governor Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center on June 30, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 30: Vice President & General Manager, Alternate Governor Steve Yzerman of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on during the 2013 NHL Draft at the Prudential Center on June 30, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman admits he's a bit apprehensive about playing in Tuesday's Red Wings-Maple Leafs alumni game, having not put on skates since the summer.

But Yzerman, 48, a former Red Wings captain and a franchise icon, is looking forward to being an active participant in the event, which he labels a "celebration of the history of the organization." About 100 former players will play in two outdoor games Tuesday afternoon at Comerica Park in Detroit, preceding the Winter Classic between the current teams on New Year's Day.

"I just felt like it was appropriate to be there," Yzerman said. "Obviously, not skating at all, you're a little apprehensive. But I wanted to be there for the event and around, so it seemed to make sense. I'd rather be there in uniform, I guess, than street clothes."

Yzerman hasn't played much since retiring in 2006. The Hall of Famer said the last time he skated was for a few minutes during the summer. He said he has bought skates but hasn't had time to put them on, hoping to get on the ice today.

More so than playing, Yzerman relishes the rare chance to catch up with many former teammates, including Nicklas Lidstrom, Brendan Shanahan and Sergei Fedorov. Several other members of the Lightning organization — Dave Andreychuk (Maple Leafs), Steve Thomas (Maple Leafs) and Pat Verbeek (Wings) — will also play, with games at 1 and 3:30 p.m. "A lot of the guys, I haven't seen them since I retired or going back to our '97-98 teams," Yzerman said. "So I look forward to that."

As for how much Yzerman plays, that remains to be seen. "We'll see how the game goes," he said, smiling.

BISHOP OUT? According to a Sunday report in the Detroit Free Press, the Red Wings' Jimmy Howard — not the Lightning's Ben Bishop — will be the third goalie for the U.S. Olympic team in February, joining the Sabres' Ryan Miller and Kings' Jonathan Quick. The teams will be announced Wednesday after the Winter Classic. But Dave Fischer, senior director of communications for USA Hockey, told the Tampa Bay Times the "final roster has not yet been settled on," though it's "certainly very close." Fischer said players will find out their fate during the televised announcement.

HIS TURN: Despite Bishop's track record against the Rangers (4-0, 1.89 goals-against average, two shutouts), G Anders Lindback got the start Sunday. Coach Jon Cooper said Lindback deserved the nod, plus he wants to make sure Lindback gets at least one start a week. Lindback last played Dec. 19 against Nashville.

streaks: RW Marty St. Louis six-game point streak and four-game goal streak were snapped in the 2-1 shootout loss. … LW Ondrej Palat has a three-game point streak.

MISC: D Dmitry Korobov, who picked up his first NHL point Sunday (an assist), was sent back to AHL Syracuse after the game. That likely means defensemen Eric Brewer (upper body) and Sami Salo (upper body) are closer to returning. Cooper expects both back during the four-game road trip that begins today. Same with LW Ryan Malone. RW Richard Panik returned to the lineup. RW B.J. Crombeen and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie were scratched.

Yzerman looks forward to reunion 12/29/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 29, 2013 11:21pm]
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