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Yzerman departure tough on Ilitches

Wednesday, 05.26.2010 / 9:50 AM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Yzerman departure tough on Ilitches
DETROIT – Tuesday was a very difficult day for the Red Wings and their owners, Mike and Marian Ilitch, who for the last 27 years thought of Steve Yzerman as a son.

On Tuesday, Yzerman, 45, was named the new general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In a written statement, the Ilitches said, “Today is a difficult day for us, just as we know it is for Red Wings fans everywhere.  It's hard to imagine Steve Yzerman in anything other than the red and white Winged Wheel as he has been synonymous with the Red Wings and Hockeytown for as long as most of us can remember.”

Since he retired as a player in 2006, Yzerman had been a vice president in the Wings’ organization, and began to have aspirations of leading a team of his own.

With GM Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill entrenched in their positions with the club, Yzerman knew that he would have to leave Detroit if he was to obtain his goal.

“We want to congratulate Steve on his new position with the Tampa Bay Lightning,” the Ilitch statement said. “This is an exciting and well-deserved opportunity for him and his family, and we know he will do a terrific job in this next chapter of his life.”

In 22-year playing career, Yzerman scored 692 goals while compiling 1,755 points, and he was part of three Stanley Cup winning teams. When he hoisted the Cup over his head on June 7, 1997 it erased a city’s pain built on a 42-year championship drought.

“This is not easy,” wrote the Ilitches. “We're having a difficult time, frankly, because Stevie's been with us from the start and we consider him part of our family. We drafted him as a young and shy 18-year-old – just a year after we bought the team – and he has been part of it all: the ups and downs, highs and lows, the Cups, the celebrations, really everything Red Wings over the last 27 years. We watched him grow and develop over the years into a Hall of Fame player, a wonderful husband and father and now, a very capable executive.”

Yzerman becomes the sixth GM in Lightning history, replacing Brian Lawton, who was fired in April. Lawton was the top draft pick by the Minnesota North Stars the same year that the Wings selected Yzerman fourth overall.

On January 2, 2007, Yzerman’s No. 19 was officially retired in an electric pre-game ceremony at Joe Louis Arena. He was joined by family and friends, former Wings greats, 20,066 boisterous fans in attendance, and a national-televised audience throughout Canada. His sweater now hangs from the JLA rafters along side all-time legends Terry Sawchuk (1), Ted Lindsay (7), Gordie Howe (9), Alex Delvecchio (10) and Sid Abel (12).

“We appreciate all Stevie has done for us, our organization and this community, and we wish him all the best,” the Ilitch statement said. “Stevie Y will always be a Red Wing and he'll always be in our hearts.”



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80