By now, if you haven’t heard the news about Steve Yzerman, you must live under a rock. So, for those readers who do, Steve Yzerman yesterday told his players that he was stepping aside as Lightning GM, and going home to Detroit.
The news came followed by an outpouring of giddy Red Wings fans, as one could expect. Unfortunately, this move could mean very little, or it could be a resounding precursor to an even bigger boom in the not-so-distant future. Fans of this team know the story — Steve Yzerman, late in his playing career, expressed interest in managing a team from the front office. The Red Wings chose to re-sign Ken Holland as GM, and at the time had Jim Nill locked up longterm as an Assistant. When Yzerman got the chance to do what he wanted, he had to turn away from his second hometown.
Yzerman told #TBLightning players he was heading back to Detroit but it was unclear if that meant to live (he has a family and home there) or to eventually work.— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) September 11, 2018
The Red Wings have Ken Holland signed for another two seasons. Yzerman has agreed to step down as a “Senior Advisor” with the Lightning for the remainder of his term, which is one season. That opens up some serious speculation. The Athletic’s Joe Smith believes this may be more of a “quality of life” type of move — Yzerman wants to spend more time with his family, he has three kids in college, and his wife lives in Michigan. If Steve Yzerman really intends to move back to Michigan, it’s almost impossible to believe he and his wife would be having dinner at Ken Holland’s home once or twice a week.
Let’s be clear — Yzerman has done some special things with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but he’s done historical things with the Red Wings. The guy was the spark that lit the fire of a decades-long period of dominance in the NHL. I truly believe that if there was a shadow of a doubt he could come back to the team who called his name in 1983.
In a perfect world, Steve Yzerman will end his career where it all began. In an even more perfect world, the Red Wings slog through another tough season, earn another top-10 pick in the upcoming draft, then Ken Holland decides to take on a different role, and he makes way for the prodigal son. It’s early, but a perfect world seems to make sense when you go by what Craig Custance recently said:
For those speculating about Detroit, here's what we know:— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) September 11, 2018
- Holland signed 2-year extension with the Red Wings in April
- per @JoeSmithTB, Yzerman has one year left on his deal w/TB
- There's an internal appetite to sort out future roles for current Detroit management group
That reported “internal appetite to sort out future roles” is what opens up the hope (which is not a strategy) that Yzerman’s recent move could turn a corner for a front office that has needed a shakeup for a long time.
When you piece everything together, yes there could very well be smoke, and where there is smoke, there is fire. I’m not exactly sure what I’m getting at with that, but it feels right. The Red Wings aren’t close to being out of the basement — and it could take some time until they return to relevance, but developments like the ones we saw Tuesday could represent a potential (tiny) light at the end of the tunnel.
Do you think Steve Yzerman rejoins his team?
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