After much speculation by hockey fans and members of the media, it was announced on Tuesday that Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman will be suiting up for the Detroit Red Wings in the Alumni Showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs as a part of the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival
Red Wings fans have been waiting for this news since the announcement of the Alumni Showdown itself.. Yzerman was and is still the adopted son of the city of Detroit. For Wings faithful and the city, they find themselves elated that Yzerman is coming home to don the winged wheel once again.
"Steve is one of the greatest Red Wings players ever," said Ken Holland, the Red Wings general manager. "His presence at the Alumni Showdown makes a great day even better."
Yzerman, the captain of the Red Wings for 20 years (1986 to 2006), had been the biggest name who had not committed to playing in the game for Detroit, until now.
Why would he? Well, Yzerman does have other obligations. Besides his job as the general manager for Tampa Bay, he is also the general manager for Team Canada's 2014 Olympic men ice hockey team and he is (and will remain) busy gearing up for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. That was another reason Yzerman had not committed to playing in the game until now.
How weird would it have been to see the likes of Niklas Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Paul Coffey, Sergei Federov but not Steve Yzerman? Yzerman is the second ranked scorer all-time in Wings history and the longest tenured captain in the history of the National Hockey League. The game wouldn't be the same without Yzerman in the lineup. There would have always been something missing.
After a 22-year playing career, Yzerman had amassed 1,755 points in 1,514 regular-season games. He added 185 points in 196 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
More importantly, Yzerman played his way to three Stanley Cup Championship wins.
Yzerman retired after the 2005-2006 season as the sixth all-time leading scorer in NHL history. His number was retired the following season and hangs among other greats atop the Joe Louis Arena rafters. He will always be a Red Wing great, playing in 1,514 games with the club.
Three years after retiring, Yzerman joined the Hockey Hall of Fame.
During his career, Yzerman was selected for 10 NHL All-Star games. He won a plethora of hardware in his playing days including the 1989 Lester B. Pearson Award (players' MVP), the Frank J. Selke Trophy (2000) and the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (2003). Yzerman was also the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1998 when the Red Wings defeated the Philadephia Flyers in four games.