Stevie Y is Going Home
By Patrick Hoffman
When you think of Hockey Hall of Famer Steve Yzerman, I'm sure that the Detroit Red Wings logo and three Stanley Cups come to mind.
Yzerman bled red and white for his entire playing career. He played in 1,514 games, holds the NHL record as the longest-serving captain of single team, and after Gordie Howe, he was the face of the franchise.
This is why it was always weird for me to see him as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sure, I realized that he needed to go to another organization to get his chance to manage a club since it was clear that Wings' GM Ken Holland was not going to leaving anytime soon at that point. With that said, it was an organization that I think he never truly belonged to.
My point was proven early Friday morning, April 19, when it was reported that the Wings were going to name Steve Yzerman as their new GM while Ken Holland was going to remain the team's senior vice president. While Holland is one of the game's legendary GM's, I believe that this move was a long time coming for this franchise.
After being the Wings' vice president for six seasons and having seen Holland sign a contract extension, he went out and got the Lightning's general manager gig. In that role, he put the franchise back on the hockey map after being awful for several seasons.
With Yzerman at the helm, the franchise made the playoffs on a consistent basis, went to the Cup Final in 2015, went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2018, and were considered a perennial Cup contender. He made that franchise relevant again and brought in players that made their team among the best in the league.
He will now have a chance to do the same thing in Detroit. The Red Wings have not made the playoffs in a very long time and their fan base is starving for their favorite team to become a contender again.
Luckily for Yzerman, the franchise is already on the right path to being successful again. With guys like Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha, and a lot in the cupboard, all they need is a guy like Yzerman to get this franchise back to where it belongs.
This is a big moment for both Yzerman and the franchise. For Yzerman, he gets to go home where he had a ton of success in his hockey career.
For the Red Wings, it's an opportunity to get back to being Hockeytown and being a franchise that will be a Cup contender for years.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.