Embed from Getty Images Steve Yzerman mania has swept across the entire State of Michigan and his return to the Detroit Red Wings has sent ripples across the NHL. His introduction as Red Wings executive vice president and general manger yesterday doubled as a coming home celebration as well.
The prodigal son returns, a fitting analogy on Easter Weekend. Yet that is how Detroiters view Yzerman’s return. He learned the everyday running of the front office in Detroit, then headed to Tampa Bay to apply what he learned. Turning Tampa into an NHL juggernaut (at least during the regular season.) He returned because as he said “I want to live in Detroit.”
Steve Yzerman is the jolt of lightning Detroit sports needs right now. He is proven. He is easily one of the top three general managers in the NHL. Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Christopher Ilitch made the only decision that was right. 36 years ago Christopher’s father Mike Ilitch welcomed Yzerman to Detroit upon drafting. 36 years later, Christopher was there to welcome him back.
“To come back to the Red Wings for me was not a difficult decision, I like being a GM, I like being in charge” Yzerman said. Other teams have called him. He was linked to the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers. Steve Yzerman turned down both franchises interview requests.
“We have a lot of work to do.” Yzerman fired off speaking about the rebuild the Red Wings are currently in the middle of. “Rebuilds are not fun. For the fans, players, coaches and front office.” Something both Ilitch and Ken Holland have been saying. But coming from Yzerman fans received it better.
Saying the Tampa Bay Lightning not lifting a Stanley Cup was disappointing, Yzerman quickly said it has motivated him in Detroit. “This is a city that expects to win, that is pressure right there.”
Stevie Y also said “it is going to take time” multiple times during the press conference. It was refreshing to not hear “trust the process.” Make no mistake Steve Yzerman is a very aggressive general manager. He will waste zero time getting to know the Red Wings roster and contracts as well as minor league affiliates.
Yzerman said he will honor the contract extension of head coach Jeff Blashill. He will also buy out contracts if he thinks there are some minor league players ready to help the Wings.
“Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Hronek, I believe are a good foundation for a good core of player. It’s time for me to get to work.”
Steve Yzerman is back home in Detroit. The Red Wings are in great hands.