Nearly 27 years (to the day) after joining the Red Wings, he’s waving goodbye. The best leader in the history of sports saw an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
Steve Yzerman – the first draft pick made by then-new owners Mike and Marian Ilitch – will be announced as the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning this afternoon.
Following his success with Team Canada in the Olympics and – well – everywhere else before that, there’s little doubt that Yzerman can succeed in Tampa. It may not be quick, and they’re still embroiled in a messy ownership debacle, courtesy of Saw guy and hardly-was NHLer. But, rest assured, like he always did on terrible Red Wings teams, Steve Yzerman will find a way to make the most of it.
Every last one of us should be thankful for his time with the organization and wish him nothing but the best of luck. He’s made no secret about the fact that he wanted to run a team, and he wasn’t going to get his chance in Detroit — not soon, anyway. Ken Holland is the best there ever was, and Jim Nill is no slouch either. An embarrassment of riches in Detroit gets a tiny bit lighter today, but we can all look to the Lightning as an extension of the Red Wings now because there’s nothing that means more to the team, its fans, and the city as Steve Yzerman has since June 8, 1983.
Good luck, Captain. If ever there was a reason to root for another team – particularly one in the other conference – this is it. From now until he moves on, if the Red Wings can’t win the Cup every year, I want it to be Tampa Bay.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.