Steve Yzerman did nothing but bring genius. Unparalleled hockey IQ. Most importantly though, despite mind-blowing trades like Ben Bishop for Corey Conacher, is his genuine connection and love for hockey. Now, “Stevey-Y” has moved on. Bolts fans can no longer relish the”#Yzerplan,” they can only embrace the present. Buckle up, and enjoy.
“You gotta lose your mind in Detroit Rock City,” KISS sings, or at least if you’re Mr. Yzerman, your current state of unemployment. Many Lightning supporters had their organization’s saviour pegged for the Motor City as soon as he stepped down as General Manager of the Bolts and took a job as an advisor. As it turns out, they weren’t wrong.
Pure Brilliance, Paralleled Success
Lightning chairman and governor Jeff Vinik had nothing but the best to say as he watched a man who turned a bottom-feeder organization on its head ride off into the sunset. Heading home. Yet still, the success Yzerman and Vinik had, despite falling short on one particular trophy, are more than recognized. They’re admired. Cherished. ““We’d like to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to Steve Yzerman for all his contributions to the Tampa Bay Lightning over the last nine years. Steve literally transformed the organization’s hockey operations.”
Not only did Steve change the culture off the ice, he changed it on the ice, and in the stands. The Lightning went to three Conference Finals in four years, and it wasn’t by accident.
Steve Yzerman: A winner
The culture that was created within the Lightning organization within months of Yzerman’s tenure is impossible to ignore.
High expectations, high pain levels
The reason the Lightnin’s loss stung so badly? Why the entire state of Florida was in mourning after the Lightning’s loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in four games? Because the Bolts are winners, and they were lead by one. Steve Yzerman did more than hold his own on the ice, and off it, he took things to another level.
“He built one of the finest organizations in the NHL and lead us to the playoffs in six of the nine years he was with us, including three Conference Finals and one Stanley Cup Final. While we are disappointed to see Steve leave for our rival Detroit Red Wings, he leaves our franchise in good shape.”
Everybody Loves Steve
Yzerman goes from a fan favourite in Tampa to the second coming of the lord in Detroit. The man is a hockey god in that city. To say they’re happy to have him back would be a major understatement.
“Stevie’s a fan favourite in Detroit like no other,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock told CBC reporters as the Toronto Maple Leafs prepared to take on the Boston Bruins. “I remember one night in Detroit in overtime or the shootout, he jumped over the boards and the place started to shake.”
Yzerman is nearly a Beatles figure in Mike Babcock’s scriptures. Regardless, as Julien Brisebois takes the reigns with Jon Cooper and a very capable Lightning organization, while the Wings need to come together, Tampa desperately needs to unite. It only takes an ember to ignite a fire.
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