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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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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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