“I don’t think we should make any bigger deal than necessary about the game. I’m not the coach and obviously I’m not a player playing the game. First of all we’re trying to win every game, and two, we’re playing against one of the best teams in the league and it’s a good test to see how we can hold up against (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg and see if we can penetrate, when healthy, the best defense in the league in my opinion. I’m looking forward to it from that perspective — how do we match up against one of the best teams in the league.” –Steve Yzerman
That quote posted by the Free Press. Our ambassador to the Leastern Conference has done a tremendous job turning around the Tampa Bay Lightning Franchise in such a short time. With 26 games left in the season, the Bolts are only seven points shy of their 82 game point total from last season – that, my friends, is incredible. To go from 80 points in 82 games (an average of 0.976 points per game) to 73 points in 56 games (1.30 points per contest) is probably one of the best turnarounds in consecutive seasons in recent history. Stevie has not only done a tremendous job cleaning up the mistakes of the past, but he’s putting his own personal stamp on the team – and it has lead to nothing but success.
Of course, Detroit can be credited to some of that. Stevie Y was always the consummate professional – which is why we made him captain at such a young age. His steely reserve and the way he carries himself has demanded respect right from the beginning. And when his glorious playing days were over, the Detroit organ-i-zation welcomed him into the front office with open arms. They brought him in, showed him the ropes of the front office, and let him do this thing.
Eventually we knew we were going to have to let him go…whether we wanted to admit it or not. So long as Ken Holland wants the job as General Manager of the greatest franchise in sports, the job will remain his. So it was with a heavy heart that we sent Stevie away to Tampa last spring so that he could cut his teeth on doing the actual job. Don’t worry – he’ll be back, someday.
So of course Stevie-Y is going to downplay any anxiousness or emotion felt by him facing the team that employed him for nearly three decades…would you expect anything less?
“Once you take a job, or take on a challenge, I think the natural instinct is to want to do well. We have lofty goals for the organization. I pay very close attention to the Red Wings team and watch them as often as I can, but really I’ve got a great responsibility and I’ve got goals and things I want to accomplish as a manager of the Lightning.” –Steve Yzerman
You go ahead and play in the Florida sandbox for a while, Stevie – when Ken Holland’s contract is up, at least we know that we’ll have the most qualified replacement waiting in the wings.