Even as one of the greatest players in the National Hockey League, Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman faced a lot of adversity in his long and storied career with the Detroit Red Wings.
He even faced quite a bit of criticism when former Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier was bought out last summer in an effort to create some space under the salary cap.
Yzerman seemed to handle Vinny's buyout well. But, he looked downright uncomfortable Wednesday in his press conference at the Tampa Bay Times Forum after captain (and fan favorite) Martin St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers for Ryan Callahan, a second round pick in 2014 and a first round pick in 2015.
The Lightning GM was asked some very tough questions by reporters, but he emphasized that it was best for the team.
"As a manager, you always have to look out for what is best for the organization," he said.
And, Yzerman finally did concede that having St. Louis stick around with the team might have had an effect on how the team performs.
"I don't think it's a healthy situation long term for anyone," he said.
When asked if the Tampa Bay Lightning is a better team now though than it was 24 hours ago? Well, he probably could have given a more confident answer, even though it is impossible to tell.
"I don't know," he said. "We're different. Ryan Callahan is a different hockey player than Marty St. Louis."
Then, Yzerman was asked the question that has been on the minds of Lightning fans throughout Tampa. Was this whole thing about the Olympic "snub?" He gave a pretty defensive answer.
"Snub is to ignore," he said after asking everyone in the room if they knew the definition of the word. "We didn't ignore any of these players. None of them."
When rumors began about Marty possibly being traded, I knew the Tampa Bay Lightning may have a public relations mess on their hands. Did Yzerman handle it as well as he could? I don't believe so.
As a general manager, there is always a balancing act between improving the team and getting rid of fan favorites to achieve that task. With Marty gone, Yzerman traded yet another fan favorite and the last remaining player from the 2004 Stanley Cup winning team.
And, that will be a tough thing for the Lightning general manager to overcome. It will be interesting to see the reaction from the fans tonight as Ryan Callahan suits up for the Lightning against the Buffalo Sabres at the Forum.