Yzerman Returns to Detroit
Steve Yzerman will make his return to Detroit on Wednesday when the Detroit Red Wings face off against his Tampa Bay Lightning at Joe Louis Arena.
Yzerman played all 23 years of his NHL seasons wearing the Winged Wheel, but in the offseason of 2010, he was offered the position of General Manager of the Lightning. With Ken Holland not going anywhere, Yzerman took on the challenge and has been successful from the start.
He made key acquisitions in Dwayne Roloson, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Dominic Moore and Eric Brewer, and also got Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos to re-sign with the team.
Tampa made the Eastern Conference Finals last year, a year after finishing 6th last in the NHL standings. Most of the Lightning's success can be placed with Yzerman's personnel decisions (hiring Guy Boucher), as seen in his nomination for GM of the Year in 2011.
Yzerman's shot came before he was hired in Tampa when he was chosen as the Manager for Team Canada in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics. He led Canada to a gold medal, and is a front runner for the position again in 2014 in Sochi, Russia. Clearly, Yzerman has everything going for him and will continue to provide both Tampa Bay and Canada with solid results.
His drive to win at all cost is what made him so loved by Detroit fans. Starting out with a terrible team in 1983, he became the youngest captain ever at 21 and remained until he retired in 2006 as the longest serving captain of all time. Certainly, his nickname, "The Captain" was well deserved.
Yzerman's jersey banner hangs from the rafters of Joe Louis Arena with a 'C' stitched into the upper corner. He won three Stanley Cups as a player and one as part of management. His personal accolades are numerous, but in honour of his selflessness, there is no need to list them.
Detroit will get to see him again on Wednesday. There is no doubt what the reaction will be. For that inevitable point during the game where he is shown on the jumbotron, probably with a "Welcome Back Stevie" on the bottom, the fans will most definitely stand and applause until their hands hurt.
Yzerman gave so much to the city of Detroit, it's only fitting that Detroit gives it back when he makes his return on Wednesday. He may be part of the Lightning, but he'll be a Red Wing forever.