Monday, July 03, 2006

Steve Yzerman

For the last few years, I knew the day was going to come when Steve Yzerman was no longer going to be a member of the Red Wings. Like most of you, I was prepared for the end of his Hall of Fame career, but always thought that it would be "Next year."

Next year has come.

I'm selfish, I wouldn't have minded seeing the Captain play one more season. He was the best Red Wing on the ice for long periods of the Edmonton series. You knew he had some good hockey left in him, and could still be very effective, if used correctly. To this day, even at age 41, there is no one else I'd rather see take an important faceoff or on the penalty kill. He was close to the 700 goal plateau, a good enough reason for most players to come back and take season long victory lap.

But it was time, and he knew it. It's looking more and more as if the Red Wings need to do more than just reload, but rebuild. The team has to get younger, and develop new leaders. That wasn't going to happen with the Captain in the locker room. The Red Wings need cap room, and find players that better fit Mike Babcock's system. Yzerman moving to a management position can't hurt with taking care of those needs.

I'm happy to see Stevie Y retire while still relatively healthy, and if not at the top of his game, still a very capable 2 way player. Steve Yzerman refused to go out like those athletes who stayed more than just past their prime, but their welcome, and either bounced around the league, or contuinued to play till they were a shadow of their former selves. Steve Yzerman did it the right way, during his career, and in how he retired. Yzerman didn't leave a sour taste in our mouths, unlike a certain Lions running back.

Steve Yzerman, the Captain, has been a Red Wing, the Red Wing, for the entirety of my adult life. Today, I'm feeling more than a little older, and quite melancholy.

And, obviously, the fans, most importantly, that've supported the team before, throughout my career, and beyond now...It is a special place to play, and it is a special city to live in when you're an athlete, and to go on the road, and Drapes and Murph and the other guys here, it's just such a calming influence and a great motivation to have the support we have. I've never once felt it was a burden, the expectations of our fans have been nothing but a positive, and a great motivator for the players...Wings fans throughout North America, and Michigan, they've supported me and the Red Wings through various disappointments, everyone has stuck by us, and to everyone, I want to say thank you.

No, thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Al. It's sad to see him go, but there's so many great memories. Plus, you have to imagine the Red Wings will give him every chance to contribute in the front office. Maybe we'll have the next Joe Dumars to replace Ken Holland in a few years.