A sampling of stories published today about former Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman’s return to Detroit, where he will serve in the same capacity with the Red Wings:
Steve Yzerman’s track record as a GM: Plenty for Detroit Red Wings to like
The Lightning won two playoff series over the Red Wings during Steve Yzerman’s tenure. Can Yzerman change Detroit’s fortunes now that he’s back in the Motor City? the Detroit Free Press’ Kirkland Crawford writes:
"It’s a Hockeytown homecoming for The Captain.
"For Wings fans, bringing Steve Yzerman back into the fold is the best-case scenario. But what is his managerial track record?
"When he retired after the 2005-06 season, Yzerman was almost immediately made a team vice president. In the four seasons in the front office, the Wings reached the conference finals, won the Stanley Cup, lost in the Cup finals and then lost in the conference semifinals.
“But something else happened during Yzerman’s time in the front office: The Canadian Olympic hockey program picked him to be the general manager for the 2007 world championship. Canada won gold, and so he was tabbed to put together the 2010 Winter Olympic team.”
Holland helps Detroit get its legend back
TSN’s Gord Miller, who broke the story about Yzerman becoming Red Wings GM, writes that the writing was on the wall as long as a year ago:
"When the flare went up in Detroit, it could be seen all the way down in Tampa. The announcement in April, 2018, that Red Wings GM Ken Holland had signed a two-year contract extension didn’t get much attention at the time, but the unusually short two-year term caught the attention of the man for whom it was intended: Red Wings’ legend Steve Yzerman.
"According to friends and colleagues, Holland had become increasingly frustrated and unhappy in recent years as criticism in Detroit began to mount. Asked if he was looking over his shoulder, Holland, normally calm with the media, replied curtly: “I’ve won three Cups, five Presidents Trophies. I don’t look over my shoulder.”
"Holland told colleagues that his time as Wings’ GM would soon be coming to a close.
“What he wanted most was to ensure that his reign ended well and that the team’s future was in good hands. Having overseen the start of the rebuilding process in Detroit, Holland wanted to make sure there was a key piece in place: a new GM.”
Steve Yzerman is perfect for Detroit Red Wings, but give Ken Holland credit
Give Ken Holland credit for assembling a core of talented young players, the Free Press’ Jeff Seidel writes:
"This is an absolute home run. It’s the perfect hire, at the perfect time. This has sent Wings into a Good Friday stupor of giddiness. They remember Steve Yzerman as The Captain. The hero holding up the Cup. A favorite son coming home.
"But that is not what makes this such a perfect hire.
“Yzerman is no longer the Captain. He is now the General, an experienced GM who proved himself by building the Tampa Bay Lightning into an elite franchise. And he couldn’t be walking into a better situation.”
Steve Yzerman will (again) return Red Wings to contender status
It’s not often a guy gets to save a franchise twice, The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell writes:
"Thirty-six years ago, the Detroit Red Wings drafted an undersized center from the Peterborough fourth overall. They didn’t know at the time that he was going to become one of the greatest players in franchise history and the face of three Stanley Cups. That’s because they were too busy giving away a car each game just to get people in the building and digging themselves out from decades of mismanagement, neglect and apathy.
“That undersized center now comes back to the Red Wings a managerial giant. And even though the franchise isn’t in nearly as bad shape as when Steve Yzerman arrived as a player, his mandate is the same as it was when he played: to bring the Red Wings back to their past glory.”
Steve Yzerman is coming back to Detroit, and it’s about friggin’ time!
Shockingly, Deadspin’s Lauren Theisen was less than kind in her description of the Lightning:
"It’s finally happening! Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman is spurning that lame expansion team in Seattle, and he’s ignoring lost franchises like Rangers, and — of course — he kicked the Tampa Bay Chokemeisters to the curb, all so he could come home to Detroit. Yes, that thing that I knew in my heart of hearts was happening ever since Yzerman stepped down as Lightning GM in September has come to pass.
“... Yzerman’s return comes at a hugely important inflection point in the team’s history. They’ve been bad for several years now, and have missed the playoffs for the last three. That’s three more years than the Red Wings are ever supposed to be out of the postseason, but the team was at least fun to watch in intermittent bursts this season.”