Tomorrow night the Detroit Red Wings roll into town to play the Tampa Bay Lightning. Quite a buzz surrounding this game. Two top teams from two different conferences.
Tampa - 57 games played. 34-17-6 74 points
Detroit - 56 games played. 34-16-6 74 points
Ironically, both teams are similarly positioned. Tampa is 1st in the Southeast Division while Detroit sits atop the Central Division. Tampa Bay is 2nd in the Eastern Conference as Detroit is 2nd in the Western Conference. On top of all that, this game has a bit of a side note.
In Detroit he is affectionately known as “The Captain.” In Tampa we refer to him as the “GM.”
Call him what you choose. It doesn’t matter. Some things are for certain. Steve Yzerman was an outstanding player. He’s had a phenomenal career with the Detroit Red Wings. Why do they refer to him as “The Captain?” At the age of 21 he was named captain of the Detroit Red Wings. He retired as the longest-serving captain of ANY North American major league sports team in history.
Captain it is!!
This Hall of Fame player has won the Lester B. Pearson Award, Selke Trophy, Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, and the Conn Smythe Trophy during his illustrious playing career. Let’s not forget he was a ten time All Star and won three Stanley Cups.
You can call him Captain. You can call him GM. I’ll call him remarkable!
Those who haven't had the pleasure of following his career might not understand Detroit's reverence with this man. I hesitate to draw this comparison since ones body of work doesn't yet compare to the others, but think Vincent LeCavalier. Both were 1st round picks. Both entered the league as skinny 18 year olds and both were named captain at early ages. The only reason I mention it is because Vinny is the closest thing we know in comparison. Both soft spoken and classy.
Vinny has been the face of the Lightning franchise for a long time. He is very much involved in the community. His generosity has resulted in a childrens hospital wing named after him. He will tell anyone willing to listen that Steve Yzerman was his favorite player as he was growing up. Funny how things turn out.
Knowing how we feel about Vinny, Detroits love for Yzerman should come as no surprise. Again, I am not comparing their accomplishments or their level of fan adoration and respect. While Vinny has won a cup and a Rocket Richard Trophy, one can get lost in Steve Yzerman’s accomplishments. Almost too much to comprehend. Among all those accolades there is one thing that will never be misunderstood. Steve Yzerman is a class individual. When Jeff Vinik bought the Tampa Bay Lightning he made it clear he was going to build a “world class” organization. It’s not surprising Steve Yzerman was his first hire.
Steve Yzerman has joined the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s part of our family now. He’s made some great moves as Lightning GM. I’m sure there are more to come. He left a community that embraced him and joined ours. Slowly but surely he’s being embraced here. There is no surprise there is a buzz surrounding Thursday’s game. Steve Yzerman shared his thoughts on the upcoming game in a story published in the St Pete Times.
He says the game is no big deal. Right Steve! I think we all know better.
It's going to be an emotional game for players on both teams. It’s that time of year. Two points are on the line. Big games against quality opponents are always emotion filled games for players. As fans, we are always passionate and emotional about every game our boys play.
For Steve Yzerman, I can't comprehend the emotions he will feel.